LETTER: Nisga’a Nation not a ‘parallel state’

Nisga'a Lisims President Mitchell Stevens responds to criticism of benefits from self-government by treaty

Mitchell Stevens

This in response to Tom Fletcher’s column (Nisga’a proving their critics wrong, B.C. Views, Dec. 3) and a recent letter to the editor from Ron Johnson (Nisga’a parallel state poses tough questions).

First, the Nisga’a Nation is not a “parallel state.” As a result of our treaty, we are very much a part of Canada, a fact about which many Nisga’a citizens are extremely proud. In the manner set out in the Nisga’a Treaty, federal and provincial laws apply to Nisga’a Nation, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to Nisga’a government, Nisga’a citizens pay taxes, and Nisga’a citizens continue to be entitled to all the rights and benefits of other Canadian citizens.

If anything, our treaty removed the barriers of the Indian Act that obstructed our full participation in Canadian society. We take exception to being separated in any way from Canada.

Second, Johnson’s comment that Nisga’a citizens have become a “landed gentry” is a completely inaccurate portrayal of the state of Nisga’a society. It suggests that through the recognition of our aboriginal title under the Nisga’a Treaty, Nisga’a Nation has somehow magically transformed its economic conditions to that of a 19th century aristocrat living off rents.

In fact we were not allowed to participate in the industrial revolution, and we need to catch up to the rest of Canada. As tax-paying Canadians, we at Nisga’a Nation still have to earn our daily bread, attract investment to our area and carefully plan and build for the future, just like everyone else in Canada.

This is why we support the development of the liquefied natural gas industry in B.C., are seeking to attract investment, and possibly operate an LNG facility on Nisga’a lands. As we have indicated to the government of B.C. at recent joint press conferences, our efforts at Nisga’a Nation provide LNG proponents project certainty to support the establishment of the LNG industry in B.C. generally.

Nisga’a Nation strives for sustainable prosperity and self-reliance. We appreciate how Fletcher has kept an open mind to allow his views on the Nisga’a Treaty to evolve. We are optimistic that eventually more people will understand that we want what all citizens of B.C. want – an improved quality of life.

H. Mitchell Stevens

President, Nisga’a Lisims Government

New Aiyansh

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Shore first responders salute health care staff at Victoria General Hospital

Students and first responders support those on the frontline against COVID-19

4 inmates at Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre granted early release due to COVID-19

The move, which impacts offenders serving intermittent sentences, is to prevent spread of virus

Victoria health care worker reminds public animals need help too during pandemic

Cat’s Cradle’s thrift store in Sidney temporarily closed due to the risk of spreading COVID-19

Annual Goddess Run goes virtual with few registration spots remaining

Participants can share their route, time and photos online

Colwood mayor advocates for zero per cent tax lift for 2020 in light of COVID-19

Mayor Rob Martin also advocating for tax deadline extension

VIDEO: Easter festivities may be scaled back, but it can still be a fun holiday

COVID-19 circumstances have dictated that the holidays may not be perfect

COVID-19 world update: U.S. to start antibody tests; drones enforce lockdown in Italy

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news from around the world

Lower Mainland hunting store sees 200% increase in firearm sales

Co-owner of Wanstalls says increase due to a variety of reasons

People needing addiction services feeling ‘abandoned’ during pandemic

The province is trying to increase access to addiction care through a phone line of experts, doctors

COVID-19: B.C. ER nurse self-isolates in travel trailer, apart from family

Marcia Kent says situation is difficult but worth it to keep twin boys safe

B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Will include virtual clinics and resources for British Columbians, including front-line workers

VIDEO: Community rallies around Campbell River fire victims

Emergency Social Services volunteers logged over 100 hours in first day after fire

B.C.’s COVID-19 rent supplement starts taking applications

$300 to $500 to landlords for April, May and June if eligible

Reality TV show about bodybuilders still filming in Okanagan, amid COVID-19

Five bodybuilders from across the country flew to Kelowna to move into a house for a reality TV show

Most Read