Breakthrough in treaty process predicted (Globe and Mail)

05 Oct Breakthrough in treaty process predicted (Globe and Mail)

With the groundbreaking Nisga’a agreement under attack in the Supreme Court of British Columbia and with more than 100 bands in the province still making little progress in treaty negotiations, Sophie Pierre admits to feeling frustrated at times.

But Ms. Pierre, chief commissioner of the B.C. Treaty Commission, said Tuesday she feels confident a breakthrough is coming at the treaty table in the near future, regardless of what happens in the legal challenge to the Nisga’a agreement.

 “Yes, the logjam could be broken. … I think that could very well be a reality within 12 to 18 months,” she said shortly after releasing the treaty commission’s 17th annual report on the status of treaty making in B.C.

She did not predict a flood of final agreements, but rather indicated there could be rapid progress at many stages of the process, pushing all bands closer to settlement.

Ms. Pierre acknowledged that over the past year there has been little progress in several problem areas that have been stalling negotiations, including “negotiation fatigue; limited resources … and lack of consensus on what recognition and reconciliation mean.”

She said failure to resolve those issues has contributed to “an erosion of confidence” in the treaty process.

At the same time, the court challenge to the Nisga’a agreement, which got under way in B.C. Supreme Court this week, has raised concerns because for the past decade that settlement has stood as an example to first nations of what can be achieved through treaty negotiations. …Go to article.