Canada and Tseshaht First Nation successfully conclude 1913 Surrender and Sale of Iwachis IR 3 Specific Claim; $21 million paid to Tseshaht

News release

July 29, 2022 — Tseshaht First Nation, British Columbia — Crown–Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Today, Chief Ken Watts of Tseshaht First Nation and the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations, announced that Tseshaht First Nation and the Government of Canada have negotiated a settlement agreement regarding the Tseshaht First Nation’s 1913 purported Surrender and Sale of Iwachis IR 3 Specific Claim and that the settlement of $21 million has now been paid to the First Nation.

The specific claim, filed on April 16, 2016, at the Specific Claims Tribunal, seeks to address a historic wrong regarding the alleged surrender and subsequent sale of Iwachis reserve land (IR 3) to the Canadian Northern Pacific Railway for the development of the railway in 1913. The former reserve land known as Iwachis is approximately 26 acres of land at the mouth of the Franklin River on the eastern side of the Alberni Inlet on Vancouver Island.

The settlement and payment of the compensation to Tseshaht First Nation successfully concludes the specific claim. Tseshaht voters ratified the settlement agreement by an overwhelming majority of votes cast, and now the Nation will determine next steps. 

Quotes

“Tseshaht has been waiting over 100 years to deal with this long-standing issue involving our former Indian Reserve known as Iwachis. Today, our ancestors, our current membership and future generations can celebrate this historic agreement for our community, as this settlement, now deposited, helps right the wrongs of the past while providing a brighter future. We thank the Government of Canada for taking steps towards reconciliation with Tseshaht.”

Ken Watts, Tseshaht First Nation Elected Chief Councillor 

“This settlement marks an important step in Canada’s relationship with Tseshaht First Nation. Working collaboratively to resolve historical grievances like this is fundamental to advancing reconciliation in Canada and to renewing our relationships with Indigenous Peoples.”

The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations 

Quick facts

  • Tseshaht First Nation is one of the 14 member First Nations of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC) on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Tseshaht First Nation currently has a population of 1,264.

  • Canada has a longstanding policy and process in place to resolve specific claims by negotiating settlements with First Nations. Since January 1, 2016, it has settled more than 183 specific claims with First Nations, totalling $8.9 billion in compensation. 

  • In the fiscal year 2021–22, 56 claims were filed with the Minister, 83 were “assessed” (77 were accepted for negotiation, while six claims were not accepted for negotiations), and 26 were resolved (23 claims were settled through negotiations and three were awarded compensation at the Tribunal).

  • Working in partnership with First Nations, Canada has resolved over 592 specific claims since 1973.

Associated links

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Renelle Arsenault
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations
renelle.arsenault@rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca

CIRNAC Media Relations:
Email: RCAANC.Media.CIRNAC@sac-isc.gc.ca
Phone: 819-934-2302

Wahmeesh (Ken Watts)
Elected Chief Councillor
Tseshaht First Nation
Phone: 250-724-1225
Email: kenwatts@tseshaht.com

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