In its March 2019 Budget, Canada announced that it would forgive all past and current loans to First Nations for comprehensive claims and treaty negotiations. This welcome decision – which means that past loans will not be deducted from Tlowitsis’ land and cash treaty settlement as was past practice, is a critical element in the advancement of reconciliation, especially for First Nations in British Columbia.
Loans have been a large burden for First Nations that have concluded negotiations, have been an obstacle for those currently in negotiations and has been a huge barrier for First Nations wishing to enter into negotiations. The First Nations Summit has always maintained that First Nations should not have to borrow money from the very governments who wrongfully took all Indigenous lands in BC in the colonial era, without any notice, consent or agreement. Treaty negotiation debt has left First Nations at a significant financial and economic disadvantage. This debt has also had detrimental economic, social and political impacts on First Nations that have been working to resolve the outstanding land question in BC through treaty negotiations for decades.
For more information, visit the First Nations summit website.