May 11 Marks 20th Anniversary of the Nisg̱a’a Treaty


 May 11, 2020.

May 11 Marks the 20th Anniversary of the Nisga’a Treaty

New Aiyansh, B.C.: The Nisg̱a’a Final Agreement, British Columbia’s first modern treaty, came into effect 20 years ago today. The governments of Canada, British Columbia, and the Nisg̱a’a Nation commemorate this major milestone on the path of reconciliation.

For the Nisg̱a’a people, May 11, 2000, marked the end of a 113-year journey and the first steps toward a brighter future. The Nisg̱a’a Final Agreement is the first treaty in British Columbia to provide constitutional certainty in respect of an Indigenous people’s Section 35 right to self-government. The Treaty recognizes Nisga’a Lands (2,000 square kilometres), secures Nisg̱a’a hunting and fishing rights in the Nass Wildlife Area and Nass Area respectively, and has opened the door for joint economic initiatives in the responsible, sustainable development of the Nisg̱a’a Nation’s natural resources—benefitting the Nisg̱a’a as well as their fellow British Columbians and Canadians. An example of hope, trust, and cooperation, the Nisg̱a’a Final Agreement is being studied by governments and Indigenous people the world over.

Today, the Nisg̱a’a Nation includes more than 7,600 people residing primarily in the Nisga’a Villages of Gingolx, Laxgalts’ap, Gitwinksihlkw, and Gitlaxt’aamiks (formerly New Aiyansh) on British Columbia’s northwest coast, as well as in Terrace, Prince Rupert/Port Edward, and throughout the Lower Mainland. With the land question settled and their rights secure, the Nisg̱a’a have been busy building their government and institutions, as well as facilitating development, including: BC Hydro’s 335-kilometre, 287-kilovolt Northwest Transmission Line; the Long Lake Hydroelectric Project, a 31 mega-watt power generation facility; and the Brucejack Mine, an underground gold and silver mine operated by Pretium Resources Inc. Each of these projects has generated employment, business opportunities, and revenue.

While the 20th anniversary gathering has been postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis, the governments of Canada, British Columbia, and the Nisg̱a’a Nation—partners in the Treaty—seek to remind the world of what can be achieved together.


“The 20th anniversary of the implementation of the Nisg̱a’a Treaty is a major milestone in our shared history. Although a great deal has changed in the world around us, the Nisg̱a’a vision for creating a better future for their people has not. The Treaty is a living and breathing example of reconciliation in action and what we can accomplish when we work together and recognize and respect Indigenous people’s right to self-determination.”

 —The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.

Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

“20 years is a significant milestone—an entire generation of Nisg̱a’a young people have grown up as members of a self-governing treaty nation. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic means we can’t be together to recognize this special day for the Nisga’a community and the Province, but in honour of Nisg̱a’a Day and the government-to-government relationship we’ve built together over two decades, the Nisga’a flag is flying in the Hall of Honour at the B.C. Parliament Buildings. I thank the Nisg̱a’a Lisims Government for their leadership and congratulate all Nisga’a people on this anniversary.” — John Horgan, Premier of British Columbia

“Two decades ago the Nisg̱a’a people charted a new path on their journey of self-governance. At the same time, B.C. and Nisg̱a’a reset our relationship to focus on reconciliation, supporting an even better life for Nisga’a communities and people. I congratulate the Nisg̱a’a leadership on the social, cultural and economic successes of the past 20 years, and look forward to the good work we will do together in the future.” — Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

“On this special milestone day, may we remember the generations of Nisg̱a’a men and women who worked tirelessly over 113 years for the just and honourable settlement we achieved on May 11, 2000. May we continue to work steadfastly for the prosperity and improved quality of life of Nisg̱a’a for generations yet to come.”

—Eva Clayton, President, Nisg̱a’a Lisims Government


Bobby Clark, Director / Communications and Inter-Governmental Relations

Nisg̱a’a Lisims Government



Tania Venn

Communications Manager

Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation



Gillian Hanson

Director of Communications

Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett,

Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations


Media Relations

Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada


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