Scott Fraser, BC’s Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, says they are keeping ranchers, tourism operators and everyone that lives in the title lands up to date on their talks with the Xeni Gwet’in First Nations.
We asked why they can’t be involved in the talks…
“The declared title area is pretty much like private land, it’s owned and governed by the Xeni Gwet’in and we’ve been working with the nation on the transition of governance for the tenures in the declared area. We report out on that on a regular basis to everyone, to local government, elected officials, to tenure holders, and that’s the process right now.”
Fraser says they are working on a transfer of governance for the tenures in the declared area…
“To my knowledge there is only one rancher who fully operates within the declared title area and I think there are two others with 10 percent of their tenured lands in the declared title areas. We are working with the Xeni Gwet’in to advance, advocate for continued access yes. The nation is seeking feedback from tenure holders on options for managing tenures going forward, to provide some certainty for the tenure holders. I understand the concerns being raised by tenure holders, ranchers and others in the region, and that’s why we’re doing this work and putting so much resources into this. The Xeni Gwet’in did share their vision of managing tenures based on their traditional laws and ethics.”
Fraser says private property was not part of the Supreme Court decision so that is not something that people need to worry about and is not being discussed.
Fraser says they are working diligently but he says these are complex issues…
“This is really complicated, and the challenge is the court decision I think illustrates why issues of rights and title are best resolved through negotiations at tables, rather than through litigation. And that’s been the approach we’ve taken since we’ve formed government is try to get out of the courts because they are a very blunt instrument, they don’t take into account a lot of the intricacies that we are now all forced to wrestle with.”
Fraser says these things take time however, as they’ve never done this before as there has never been a declaration of treaty land or of title land in the country before.
Chilcotin ranchers say their concerns are being ignored in land talks