History of Land Question
After one hundred and thirteen years…
The Nisga'a people first petitioned government to settle their "Land Question" in 1887. In 1998, the governments of Canada, British Columbia, and the Nisga'a Nation signed the Nisga'a Final Agreement, the first treaty in British Columbia in more than a century. The treaty recognizes Nisga'a Lands and contains self-government provisions. On May 11, 2000, the treaty went into effect, marking the end of a 113-year quest—and the beginning of an exciting new era of hope, prosperity, and goodwill.
…three governments made history together: The Nisga'a Final Agreement
The Nass River Valley in Northwest British Columbia is a land of towering mountains, glacier-fed lakes, ancient forests, and rugged lava beds. The valley has sustained the Nisga'a people for millennia. Resources from the river and its plentiful watershed allowed the Nisga'a to development of the most sophisticated precolonial cultures in North America.
In the late 1800s, when much of Nisga'a traditional territory was declared Crown land, the Nisga'a people began petitioning government to recognize their connection to this territory. In 1973, the Supreme Court of Canada delivered its decision in the Calder case, which was brought to trial by Nisga'a Chief Frank Calder, president of the Nisga'a Tribal Council. Formal negotiations began between the Nisga'a Tribal Council and Canada in 1976. In 1990, the government of British Columbia joined the negotiations to establish a tripartite process. On August 4, 1998, an initialling ceremony celebration was held at Gitlaxt'aamiks.
After ratification of the Nisga'a Treaty by the Nisga'a Nation, British Columbia, and Canada, the Indian Act ceased to apply to the Nisga'a people (except for the purpose of Indian registration). On May 11, 2000, the Effective Date of the Nisga'a Treaty was a historic and triumphant day for the Nisga'a people. It marked the end of a 113-year journey—and the first steps in a new direction.
Join with Us in the Work
Some of us are awake and up and doing; others seem to be asleep,
lying down and doing nothing. By and by when the happy day comes,
and we who have laboured are rejoicing in the fruits of victory,
those sleepers will wake up and claim to have a share in the harvest.
If those people want to share in the good things coming,
let them join with us in the work.