Friday, July 27, 2007

Historic First for Natives In British Columbia

This is the first time, as far as I know, any native Indian (First Nation) group has agreed over time to start paying government taxes through a negotiated treaty with the government (provincial and federal) in British Columbia. Hopefully, other tribes in BC will be able to come to the table and sign deals with the provincial and federal governments that acknowledge their legal rights and bring them into the mainstream and out from under the Indian Act.
Basking in the joyous aftermath of her band's historic ratification of the country's first modern urban treaty and the first under British Columbia's beleaguered, 14-year treaty process, Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Kim Baird urged other natives yesterday to get on board the treaty train.

"We hope other first nations join us in moving beyond the Indian Act and also become self-governing," said Ms. Baird, cradling her seven-month-old baby, Sophia, in her arms as she talked to reporters.

Her call was a pointed reminder of the division within the province's vibrant native community over government efforts to sign treaties that they spurned more than a hundred years ago.

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