Lake Babine Nation and Canada sign agreement to support community vision for governance, capacity development, and infrastructure priorities for Wit’at and Tachet communities.

News release

February 21, 2024 — Lake Babine Nation, British Columbia — Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Today, Chief Murphy Abraham, along with other Lake Babine Nation representatives and the Honourable Gary Anandasangaree, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, signed a Funding Agreement totalling $50 million that will directly support priorities identified by the Wit’at and Tachet communities.

This funding will support Lake Babine to build its public sector and governance capacity on its journey towards self-governance and provide support for the Nation’s community infrastructure priorities.

The funding being announced today will support implementing an agreement signed on September 18, 2020, between Lake Babine Nation, Canada, and British Columbia called the Foundation Agreement. It is a tripartite framework agreement that lays out a pathway to incrementally and collaboratively implement Lake Babine Nation’s constitutional rights over a 20-year period through capacity building, shared initiatives, and further negotiations.

The Foundation Agreement also contains commitments from British Columbia to support the first phase of implementation. This involves the transfer of 20,000 hectares of provincial Crown land, forestry tenures, and approximately $43 million in funding contributions.

This funding will help Lake Babine Nation to support governance capacity by hiring specialized employees to build land capacity, manage spending, identify priority program improvements, develop a restorative justice strategy for the Nation and oversee the Nation’s strategic initiatives, the main one being the implementation of the Foundation Agreement.

Together, the parties continue to solidify a renewed relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. This renewed relationship aligns with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and its role as the framework for implementing Indigenous rights.


“The Foundation Agreement is Lake Babine's roadmap to independence from the devastating impacts of colonialism. For many years, Lake Babine has been building relationships with the provincial and federal governments to develop partnerships that will strengthen the future of our communities and the next generation. Lake Babine appreciates this significant federal contribution, and this is the beginning of Canada's commitment to the Foundation Agreement. We will use this funding to start preparing for self-government with the guidance of our community and urban members and to start strengthening our remote communities of Wit'at (Fort Babine) and Tachet by providing an indoor space for our members to hold community and cultural events. My hands go up to the past and current leaders of Lake Babine Nation, from elected to traditional leadership, who got us where we are at right now. There is a lot of hard work ahead, but Lake Babine welcomes undertaking the reconciliation journey with Canada, guided by the visions and milestones of the Foundation Agreement.”

Chief Murphy Abraham
Lake Babine Nation

“The federal government is in a process of undoing the legacy of colonial policies and moving towards true nation-to-nation relationships based on good faith. Supporting Lake Babine Nation’s priorities for governance and community is a foundational step to renewing and strengthening our partnership as we move forward. In their community today, I heard firsthand the impacts this funding will have on people. More to do.”

The Honourable Gary Anandasangaree
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Quick facts

  • Today’s announcement follows several months of negotiations involving Canada and Lake Babine Nation, including a recent meeting on October 24, 2023, between Minister Anandasangaree, Chief Abraham, and other Lake Babine Nation representatives.

  • Lake Babine Nation (LBN) has a registered membership of 2,574, with approximately 1,340 living on reserve. Their traditional territory covers roughly 1.4 million hectares of land in BC’s northern interior.

  • LBN has 28 Indian Reserves, mostly located around Babine Lake, and consists of five on-reserve communities: Old Fort, Fort Babine, Tachet, Donald's Landing/Pinkut, and Woyenne.

  • LBN initially entered into negotiations under the British Columbia Treaty Process in 1994 and withdrew in 2015 due to lack of progress. Later, LBN initiated a new approach with British Columbia and Canada to address its Section 35 rights in an incremental manner through the Recognition of Indigenous Rights and Self-Determination process.

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Kevin Brown
Communications Advisor
Lake Babine Nation

Matthieu Perrotin
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Gary Anandasangaree
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

CIRNAC Media Relations:

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