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Tla’amin Nation and the Province sign an historic agreement enabling enhanced collaboration on Heritage Conservation Act enforcement

New agreement sets out how the treaty partners will share confidential information related to Heritage Conservation Act monitoring and enforcement.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 10/11/23

QATHET, BC – Treaty partners Tla’amin Nation and the Province of BC will now share information to facilitate more effective protection of cultural heritage sites throughout Tla’amin territory and qathet region.

The agreement will support enhanced government-to-government collaboration between the treaty partners on compliance and enforcement matters under the Heritage Conservation Act (HCA).  This agreement moves the treaty partners one step closer to a comprehensive heritage stewardship and enforcement agreement as envisioned under Tla’amin Treaty.

“Effective enforcement requires collaboration and information sharing, “said Tla’amin hegus John Hackett. “This agreement will help us protect and preserve our ancestors’ remains and our cultural treasures. Importantly, it will shine a light on those rare bad actors who disrespect them.”

There are over 632 registered archeological sites in Tla’amin ʔəms giǰɛ (territory), many in coastal remote locations. Monitoring these sites effectively has been a challenge.

Tla’amin Nation is building a team of Culture and Heritage Technicians (CHTs) to act as archeological monitors. CHT’s responded to 348 requests last year alone. CHT’s report compliance issues to the Compliance & Enforcement Branch who are responsible for enforcement.

“Archaeological sites are home to Tla’amin Nation’s history and ancestors, places of tradition and culture and need to be respected and protected,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. “Opening up information sharing avenues creates a more dynamic process around the protection of archaeological sites. This agreement is the first of its kind in the province and a big thank you goes out to Tla’amin Nation for the work that went into this historic agreement.”

The new agreement involves sharing information and relevant details associated with inspections and investigations under the HCA within Tla’amin territory.  As such, it includes provisions which account for privacy and the protection of personal information.

Importantly, the agreement provides a new set of tools for the treaty partners to look carefully at the Tla’amin heritage values including the tiskʷat mill site and dam infrastructure.

The Province is currently undertaking the Heritage Conservation Transformation Project, which seeks to transform the HCA to provide for alignment with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Going forward, the Treaty partners will be able to update the agreement if changes are needed as a result of the HCA Transformation Project.

The agreement is called payɛčepot yiyχmɛt kʷʊms taʔow which means “always take care of our teachings from our ancestors”.

Read the payɛčepot yiyχmɛt kʷʊms taʔow agreement [pdf]

Download the News Release [pdf]

Media

Ministry of Forests
Media Relations
250-896-7359

Tla’amin Nation
Davis McKenzie
Director of Communications
778-834-7934