Vancouver Island Treaties Conference raises awareness of First Nations rights

May 14, 2012 - 4:21am

Snuneymuxw First Nation-Vancouver Island University News Release

The conference on the pre-confederation treaties of Vancouver Island co-hosted by Vancouver Island University (VIU) and Snuneymuxw First Nation was a spectacular success for VIU, Snuneymuxw First Nation and the larger community.

With more than 300 participants, the sold-out conference attracted large delegations from each of the Vancouver Island Treaty First Nations, students, leading scholars and legal experts, representatives from industry, and all levels of government and members of the general public.

“The conference was successful in promoting greater awareness of the treaties. The responsibility for implementing the Vancouver Island Treaties rests with all of us, and especially with VIU to continue to foster and promote education and understanding,” said Dr. Ralph Nilson, President of VIU.

The conference featured presentations and panel discussions on a range of topics related to the Vancouver Island Treaties. Through these discussions, participants were able to explore these living Treaties and how they shape our relationships to the land and to each other. A strong consensus emerged that society cannot dismiss the Vancouver Island Treaties as irrelevant agreements on land and hunting and fishing rights only.

“The Douglas Treaties recognize our title, way of life, economy, culture, but most of all, our laws,” said Chief Douglas White.“They are a powerful tool. The courts have confirmed that the province has no jurisdiction to interfere with Douglas treaty rights. This creates a space for indigenous and federal crown jurisdictions to work collaboratively in making decisions about how land and resources will be used,” Chief White said.

For more information on the conference and discussions please contact:

Chief Douglas White III Kwulasultun

Snuneymuxw First Nation


Keith Smith

VIU First Nations Studies Professor

250-740 2167

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