Government Commitments

Treaties and Land Claims

Minister’s update on Haida Nation Aboriginal Title agreement

March 15, 2024

NationTalk: VICTORIA – Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, has released the following update on the process of formally recognizing Haida Nation’s Aboriginal Title:

“Since 2002, the Council of Haida Nation and the Province of B.C. have been preparing for a court case on the question of Aboriginal Title on Haida Gwaii, while trying to find a lasting solution through negotiations.

“Together, we have reached an important milestone in these discussions: a draft agreement that we hope to finalize this spring, subject to the approval of both parties.

“The proposed Haida Nation Title agreement would recognize Haida Nation’s Aboriginal Title throughout Haida Gwaii, a foundational step in the reconciliation pathway of Haida Nation and B.C.

The draft agreement is explicit:

Recognizing Aboriginal Title will not impact anyone’s private property, or local government jurisdiction and bylaws on Haida Gwaii.
Highways, airports, ferry terminals, health care and schools will not be impacted. Residents will continue to receive municipal services and pay property taxes in the same way they do today.

“Provincial laws will continue to apply and leases, permits or other approvals to use Crown lands, remain in effect. Over time, the Haida Nation and the Province will work together to negotiate how provincial law and Haida Nation governance can work together, following extensive engagement with local governments, residents and others about those discussions. Until then, all land and resource decisions will continue to be made through existing processes.

“We know that Haida Nation have a very strong Aboriginal Title case. Litigation would create ongoing uncertainty for residents and businesses and could result in an outcome dictated by the courts that wouldn’t work for the people of Haida Gwaii.

“Instead, we have arrived at an agreement that provides stability for all residents and a path forward for the orderly, incremental approach to implementation of Haida Aboriginal Title.

“For more than 20 years, we have been engaging constructively on new, successful approaches to reconciliation, including jointly managing aspects of natural-resource and land-use decision-making on Haida Gwaii. Today, with the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, and and other areas, more than 50% of the land base on Haida Gwaii is protected.

“We are currently undertaking public engagement to create opportunities for everyone to be informed about the proposed agreement.”

Learn More:

More information, including an open letter to residents of Haida Gwaii, is available online:


Leanne Ritchie
Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation