B.C. passes law recognizing Haida Nation’s right to self-governance

The Haida Nation Recognition Act that passed in the B.C. legislature will recognize the Council of The Haida Nation as the government of the Haida under provincial law.

A delegation from the Haida Nation travelled from Haida Gwaii, located off B.C’s north coast, to Victoria to witness a historic day at the provincial legislature.

“We are here to celebrate but to acknowledge the past, the healing and the work that we are doing together,” said Council of the Haida Nation President Gaagwiis Jason Alsop while addressing the legislature.

The B.C. government and the Haida Nation have been working for more than two decades to get the law written and passed.

It recognizes the Haida Nation’s inherent rights to governance and self-determination outside pre-confederation sovereignty.

“This act begins to right that wrong and serves to lay a proper foundation for negotiations of recognition of Haida title,” said Gaagwiis. “Today, we are finally able to acknowledge each other and to work, government-to-government, with respect and integrity. The Haida Nation welcomes and celebrates this legislation.”

In 2021, the Haida Nation, B.C. and Canada entered into the GayG̱ahlda “Changing Tide” framework to advance collective work on reconciliation according to the province.

GayG̱ahlda laid the framework for the parties to negotiate further agreements, which led to Crown recognition of Haida governance and Haida title on Haida Gwaii.

While speaking to the legislature, Gaagwiis said the recognition bill was about good people on both sides working together.

“It is not to be feared, but to bring hope; we can bring hope to others to show an example that Indigenous title and rights to self-governance and self-determination and British Columbian Canadian systems can interface and interact in a respectful way, “he said.

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