Canada and W̱SÁNEĆ Nation strengthen nation-to-nation relationship with signing of Letter of Understanding

News release

January 24, 2019 — Vancouver, BC — Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Renewing the relationship with Indigenous peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership is key to achieving reconciliation.

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council signed a Letter of Understanding committing both parties to move forward together to advance a lasting reconciliation and make real progress on the issues most important to the W̱SÁNEĆ Nation.

Through the Letter of Understanding, Canada and the W̱SÁNEĆ Nation have agreed to explore a number of priorities that would support the eventual negotiation of a nation-to-nation reconciliation agreement. Priority topics include: Gulf Island National Park Reserve; Douglas Treaty rights; Fisheries; Acquisition of lands; and Education.

The W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council represents the communities of Tsartlip, Tseycum and Tsawout First Nations.


"This Letter of Understanding is an important step in renewing the relationship and signals to the W̱SÁNEĆ that the Government of Canada is serious about working with them to find solutions that support the W̱SÁNEĆ vision of self-determination. Together we can transform the Crown-Indigenous relationship and create a better future for the W̱SÁNEĆ Nation and its people."

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

"Today marks an important shift in the W̱SÁNEĆ people's relationship with the Federal Government. We have waited for over 150 years to have productive conversations with the Federal Government aimed at solving the long-standing issues that impact the lives and livelihoods of our people. We look forward to further developing this relationship and envisioning, together, a more hopeful future for the W̱SÁNEĆ people."

Chief Don Tom, Chair of the Board,
W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council


For more information, media may contact:

Matthew Dillon-Leitch
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada Media Relations

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