Williams Lake First Nation has reached an agreement-in-principal with the Government of Canada on the settlement of a long-standing specific claim.
The agreement-in-principle arose from the displacement of the ancestors of current WLFN members back in the late 1800s from large tracts of land within what is now the City of Williams Lake.
In a release, Williams Lake First Nation said the specific claim has been the subject matter of legal dispute for nearly 30 years.
It was also stated in the release in January of 2021, that Canada and WLFN reached an agreement-in-principal to resolve the claim for the amount of $135 million and the finalization of the settlement agreement and associated documentation took another 14 months to complete.
Williams Lake First Nation members over the age of 18 will now have the opportunity to vote on the proposed settlement in a referendum that will take place on June 29, 2022.
Williams Lake First Nation Chief Willie Sellars said “The vision is and what’s proposed to the membership through the referendum process is not only to accept the agreement-in-principle but to accept that we would put that money into a community trust to be managed professionally to make sure that we’re taking care of not only this generation of members but future generations.”
Sellars added that WLFN Councillor Chris Wycotte put this specific claim forward back in 1994 and saw it through right to the end, pushing Chief and Councils over the years to keep it at the forefront.