B.C. Treaty Commission Chief Commissioner Celeste Haldane speaks during a news conference after the commission released its annual report, in Vancouver on Wednesday September 20, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

B.C. Treaty Commission says new deal offers smoother, faster road to treaties

Chief commissioner says accord could help produce up to 10 new agreements within the next two years

The head of the B.C. Treaty Commission says she expects a new deal between Indigenous groups and the federal and B.C. governments could help produce up to 10 new agreements within the next two years and 20 more after that.

Chief commissioner Celeste Haldane says the accord pledges to speed up and transform negotiations.

She says the agreement recognizes the need for a different approach to negotiations that results in faster treaties where all sides spend less time disputing the rights and title of Indigenous Peoples.

B.C. started a modern-day treaty negotiation process in the early 1990s, but after spending hundreds of millions of dollars in legal and other costs, only seven nations have reached final agreements.

First Nations Summit spokeswoman Cheryl Casimer says the accord offers negotiators a smoother process that sets the stage for more deals over less time.

READ MORE: B.C. First Nations tribal council wants treaty process overhaul

The province didn’t recognize Indigenous title and saw no need for treaties in 1871 when it joined Canada, and now out of more than 200 First Nations there are only a few dozen treaties.

The Canadian Press

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