B.C. introduces historic legislation in recognition of Haida Aboriginal title

Haida. Image credit: X/@HighwayOfTearz

Vancouver/CMEDIA: In recognition of the Haida Nation’s Aboriginal title throughout Haida Gwaii, and its first recognition of the Aboriginal title in Canadian history, B.C. legislative assembly introduced a historic piece of legislatio earlier this week.

“This landmark agreement will…creating opportunity and prosperity for the Haida Nation…province as a whole…important implementation of this major agreement,” said Premier David Eby.

Confirming the historic Gaayhllxid • Gíihlagalgang “Rising Tide” Haida Title Lands Agreement, a first-of-its-kind negotiated agreement between the Haida Nation and British Columbia, the new legislation also supports the agreement’s implementation approach for a staged transition to Haida jurisdiction.

“Today, I am thrilled to introduce this legislation alongside members of the Haida Nation in the B.C. legislature…legislation formally recognizes Haida Aboriginal title…a foundational step in the journey toward reconciliation,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.

While protecting and maintaining private property rights, this stage transition to Haida jurisdiction also protects existing government services and infrastructure on Haida Gwaii.

As part of a delegation of Haida Nation citizens present in the B.C. legislative chamber, President of the Haida Nation Gaagwiis Jason Alsop briefed members of the legislative assembly from the floor about the impact the legislation will have on the Haida Nation.

“We have always upheld our inherent title to Haida Gwaii and surrounding waters…today…we take another step toward peaceful coexistence with British Columbia…implementing our vision for Haida Gwaii without conflict, based on yahguudang/yahgudáng respect…re-establishing an economy…a future where the land and sea will nurture us for generations to come…after over 150 years of denial is an honourable act, Gaagwiis said

A mandatory future provincial legislation to reconcile governments’ laws and jurisdictions would reportedly be necessary for negotiating agreements about how different aspects of governing Haida Aboriginal title lands shift to Haida Nation.

At a special assembly on April 6, 2024, Haida citizens voted 95% in favour of the “Rising Tide” Haida Title Lands Agreement following which Council of the Haida Nation and B.C. signed the agreement in a ceremony on Haida Gwaii on April 14, 2024.