Government Commitments

Government Commitments to Truth and Reconciliation

22nd anniversary of the Nisga’a Final Agreement: Canada’s First Modern Treaty

May 11, 2022

Crown–Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, British Columbia Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Nisg̱a’a Lisims Government

NationTalk: The governments of Canada, British Columbia and the Nisg̱a’a Nation are commemorating the 22nd anniversary of the signing of British Columbia’s first modern Treaty, the Nisg̱a’a Final Agreement.

The anniversary is being commemorated this week at the Special Assembly of the Nisg̱a’a Nation, whose theme is “Through the Generations – With Resilience and Vision – Working Today for a Prosperous Tomorrow.” This is the Nations’ first in-person gathering since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A landmark in the relationship between Canada and Indigenous Peoples, the Nisg̱a’a Agreement came into effect on May 11, 2000, marking the end of a 113-year journey — and the first steps in a new direction. Treaty relationships between partners are a critically important pathway to meaningful reconciliation. They help to support strong, healthy, thriving communities that benefit people today and for generations to come. An outstanding example of modern Treaty relationships, the Nisg̱a’a Final Agreement is studied internationally as a model of hope, trust and government-to-government cooperation.

The Final Agreement put control over land and resources back in the hands of Nisg̱a’a Nation, recognizing Nisg̱a’a Lands (2,000 square kilometres) and provides constitutionally-protected Treaty rights, including Treaty rights to hunt and fish in the Nass Wildlife Area and Nass Area.

Over the past few decades, the Nisg̱a’a have made progress in building their government and institutions, as well as facilitating economic development, including the sustainable development of natural resources and efforts such as the proposed Ksi Lisims LNG Natural Gas Liquefaction and Marine Terminal Project.

Through investments in tourism, the Nisg̱a’a Nation continues to attract Canadian and international audiences to the natural beauty of Nisg̱a’a Lands, creating jobs and economic opportunities not only in Nisg̱a’a communities but also in the broader Nass Valley. These projects have generated employment, business opportunities and revenue.

Quick Facts:

  • The Nisg̱a’a Final Agreement is the first modern-day Treaty in British Columbia and is the fourteenth modern Treaty in Canada to be negotiated since 1976.
  • It was also the first Treaty in Canada to provide constitutional certainty in respect to Indigenous Peoples’ Section 35 right to self-government.
  • The Treaty identifies the land and resources that form part of the agreement between Canada, British Columbia and the Nisg̱a’a Nation, as well as management authority.
  • The Treaty provides for an open, democratic and accountable Nisg̱a’a Government. It includes representation for all Nisg̱a’a through the Nisg̱a’a Lisims Government, four Village Governments, and three Urban Locals, which provide a voice for Nisg̱a’a citizens who live outside the Nass Valley.
  • The Nisg̱a’a Nation includes more than 7,600 people residing in the Nisg̱a’a Villages of Gingolx, Laxgalts’ap, Gitwinksihlkw, and Gitlax̱t’aamiks (formerly New Aiyansh) on British Columbia’s Northwest Coast, as well as in Terrace, Prince Rupert/Port Edward, and throughout the Lower Mainland.