There are a lot of rumors, myths, and misconceptions about modern day Treaties. Here you will find some of the common myths that are out there today, followed by the truth.
Myth: We would be giving away a bunch of our land.
- The Treaty model in BC is a non-surrender model. That means that LBNs aboriginal rights will continue over all of the territory, even the areas that are not part of Treaty Settlement Lands (TSL).
- TSL would become an area that is owned by LBN exclusively. LBN has lawmaking authority in this area and can control and gain profit from businesses on these lands. LBN will still have aboriginal rights on all of the territory.
- LBN gains greater control over a section of the territory without giving up significant rights on the rest. On the territory outside TSL, the Treaty will establish a system for addressing shared decision making and consultation.
Myth: We'll lose our status.
- A Treaty does not mean that LBN members will lose Indian Status.
- LBN members who currently have status will continue to have status, and continue to receive the programs and services that are currently provided by Canada and BC, (health care, education, social assistance, etc).
Myth: White people are going to come in and take over.
- If LBN accepts a Final Agreement (Treaty), there will be many responsibilities and positions that come with that.
- LBN will make best efforts to prepare our people for these changes through a Capacity Building Program.
- Until we have enough qualified people who want to work for the nation, we may need to hire outside help to carry out some of the work. This is common among all governments.
Myth: Treaty is selling our lands behind our back.
- Treaty does not have the power to sell LBN lands at all.
- A Treaty does not involve giving land away; in fact a Treaty does the opposite.
- Signing a Treaty would give LBN more control over a certain area within the traditional territory.
Myth: Treaty is getting signed behind our back.
- Costs involved in negotiating a Treaty are very high.
- It requires legal advice, research in the archives and with community members, and a lot of community engagement, which is especially expensive to do in eight different locations.
- Financial information is available to LBN members at the Treaty Office. Those members who are interested may make an appointment at the Treaty Office to go over the main expenses.
Myth: We will lose our health care.
- Programs and services that are currently provided by Canada or BC will continue.
- These programs and services include health care, education, and social assistance.
- In fact, many Treaty first nations use part of their settlement payments to provide their members with even better health care than first nations people get under the Indian Act.
Myth:The Nisga'a have no money left.
- We have heard a lot of people saying that the Nisga’a have no money left and that their Treaty has made them a very poor nation.
- To figure out how true this was, LBNT staff met with Nisga’a representatives in Smithers for a one day session so we could ask them about their Treaty and how it is working. We learned that it is working very well. They still have tens of millions of dollars in a trust account.
- They have recently built and opened a new museum and they put more money towards the health care for their members.
- They are also able to purchase more land and add it to the lands they got under Treaty. The Nisga’a are doing very well.
View and download the full LBNT Myths Pamphlet PDF here.