NsTQ’s TT’exelc (Williams Lake Indian Band) Chief Willie Sellars (left), Tsq’escen’ (Canim Lake Band) Chief Helen Henderson, Chief Sheri Sellars, Xat’sull (Soda Creek-Deep Creek Band) and Chief Patrick Harry, spokesperson for the NStQ and Chief of Stswece’c Xgat’tem (Canoe Creek Band) seen here at a gathering in January are applauding the federal government’s Budget 2019 proposal to forgive treaty loans. NStQ communications photo

B.C. Interior Chiefs applaud federal government’s treaty loan forgiveness plan

Four NStQ chiefs say their communities alone have accumulated $30 million in treaty loans

As they eye finalizing their own treaty negotiations, chiefs of the four Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw communities are applauding the federal Liberal government’s commitment in Budget 2019 to eliminate treaty negotiation loans.

Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett, was in Vancouver Wednesday, April 10, and said through Budget 2019 the federal government proposes to forgive all out-standing comprehensive claim negotation loans and reimburse Indigenous governments that have already repaid these loans, to address rights and self-determination in communities.

“Communities have done tremendous work in reconstructing their nations and asserting their inherent right to self-determination and self-government, but they have had to do so by shouldering millions of dollars in debt,” Bennett said in a press release.

“Last year we ended the practice of communities needing to take out loans to assert their rights, and this year we are forgiving and repaying the loans for these groups that have concluded their treaties. This is about fairness for those who spent years and millions of dollars to negotiate agreements and Budget 2019 follows through on our commitment to change the way we support self-determination and treaty discussions.”

Chief Patrick Harry, spokesperson for the NStQ and Chief of Stswece’c Xgat’tem (Canoe Creek Band), said treaty loans were a barrier to the whole process.

“I commend this government for taking a stand,” Harry said. “Now we can get on with the work of building a better economic, social and political future for NStQ and all Indigenous people.”

Read more: NStQ nations explore child and family services delivery

British Columbia First Nations have accumulated hundreds of millions of dollars in debt since the modern-day treaty process began in 1993. The communities of the Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw have themselves accumulated more than $30 million in treaty loans.

“Treaty loans were a barrier to the whole process and I commend this government for taking a stand,” said T’exelc Chief Willie Sellars. “Now we can get on with the work of building a better economic, social and political future for NStQ and all Indigenous people.”

Tsq’escen’ (Canim Lake Band) Chief Helen Henderson said the money that would have gone into paying back loans can now go toward support for Indigenous children and families, education, housing and improving the lives of community members.

“The importance of this measure cannot be overstated,” Henderson said.

Chief Sheri Sellars, Xat’sull (Soda Creek-Deep Creek Band) added for the past 25 years it seemed reconciliation was only available with more and greater costs to Indigenous communities.

“Now, we can begin to see real change just might be at hand,” Sellars said.

Bennett said forgiving and reimbursing loans will allow more than 200 Indigenous communities to reinvest in their priorities like governance, infrastructure and economic development that will increase health and well-being for all community members.

Read more: The NStQ signed an agreement-in-principle with the B.C. government


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

South Cariboo celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day

Check out where all the action will be on June 21

UPDATE: Fire near Greeny Lake is out, Drewry Lake fire “under control”

The fires located at Drewry Lake and Greeny Lake were discovered June 18

Highway 1 south of Ashcroft reopened to singe lane, alternating traffic

Vehicle incident early in the day closed the highway at Venables Valley Road

West Fraser announces the permanent closure of Chasm sawmill

The third shift for the 100 Mile House location will also be eliminated

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

B.C. teen killed by falling tree near Victoria

Second youth also injured in freak incident during field trip at Camp Barnard near Sooke

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

Scorpion gives birth after hitching ride in B.C. woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

Most Read