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Members Portal

Our Mandate (What We Are Negotiating For)

Treaty negotiations are about achieving recognition of Ditidaht aboriginal rights and title in our traditional territory. Negotiations are also about regaining self-government authority and achieving the best possible combination of land, cash and resources to create a better quality of life for current and future generations.
The treaty will require the Ditidaht people develop and approve our own Constitution on or before the effective date of the treaty. Developing a Constitution is how DFN will choose the structure of government best suited to our needs. It will tell the world who Ditidaht people are, define our territory and describe our system of government.

One of the most important things we will do during our treaty negotiation process is create a Constitution. Under treaty, the Indian Act will no longer apply to us (except to define who is a Status Indian). Instead we will be a self-governing First Nation with the right to make decisions for ourselves. A Constitution is a document that describes how we will make decisions under treaty. It says how our government will operate, what our laws are, and what rights our members have. A Constitution must be in place before a treaty can be implemented. And like the treaty, our members must vote to accept or reject the Constitution.

The Constitution will be the highest law of our land. Everything we do under treaty must be consistent with the Constitution. Our citizens will be able to challenge any decision by the government that isn’t consistent with the Constitution.

It will take time to draft our Constitution, and will require input from many different people. Community members, the treaty team, chief and council and legal counsel will all help create the Constitution. Work on the Constitution will start during Final Agreement negotiations.
Ditidaht’s overall objective in land selections is to ensure that a broad range of our needs and interests are met, and to ensure that there is a sufficient land and resource base under our effective control to provide for the long-term sustainability of our culture for both present and future generations

Today, the reality is legal title of our Reserves (legally recognized ownership) is held by the governments of Canada “for the use and benefit of Ditidaht First Nation”. And BC has legal ownership of many of our lands. This is unacceptable and our goal is to have our homelands returned to us. In September of 2010, Ditidaht identified the lands that we want to receive as treaty lands, in our negotiations with Canada and BC. The treaty land selection that we have identified to date is a total of 11,443.9 ha, in various strategic locations within our territory. These treaty lands will be the subject of negotiations – we are currently waiting for Canada and BC to respond to our land selection, and provide a land and cash offer for our consideration. It is important to remember we are in active negotiations and our TSL proposal may or may not result in our initial selections being included in a final treaty. If necessary, the negotiation team will consider other lands ensuring they meet our overall objectives and need – both now and into the future. 

The lands were selected based on six criteria:
  1. Spiritual, Cultural and Heritage Protection: To protect, promote, and enhance areas of spiritual, cultural and historical significance over the long-term;
  2. Traditional Stewardship:  To ensure that we have sufficient lands and resources to meet the needs of the present and future while ensuring sustainable resource management;
  3. Residential:  To ensure that we have sufficient lands necessary to provide for current and future housing needs of members, taking into account historic patterns, desired places to live, and attracting members back home;
  4. Sustainable Livelihood: To ensure we can make a living from the sustainable development of our lands and resources including surface and subsurface;
  5. Recreation and Leisure:  To provide opportunities for recreation and leisure for present and future generations; and
  6. Effective Control of Key Lands:  To ensure that we have as much control as possible of key parts of our Traditional Territory through the selection of TSL, by selecting lands of key cultural and historical significance; avoiding fragmenting land selection, and ensuring access to water.
Another important part of our land proposal deals with Pacific Rim National Park. The park was created inside our traditional territory and includes many of our important cultural and heritage sites, and holds many of our original reserves. A treaty will not be possible unless we regain some land within the park.
We are negotiating for financial resources to create a base to create wealth and a stable and sustainable Ditidaht economy. Treaties provide different streams of cash and these streams all flow together to establish the basis for our economy. Cash is provided in capital transfers, resource revenue sharing, funding to continue programs and services, economic development funds and implementation funding. These financial resources will be used to build and improve infrastructure, deliver programs and services and create long-term economic development in our community. We will not settle for cash resources less than what has been agreed to in existing modern day treaties.
We are negotiating for jurisdiction over, or constitutionally protected access to, the raw materials that will help us create jobs for our members and revenues for our treaty government. This includes forest resources, fish resources, and other resources such as water.

With resources we will be able to create a comprehensive and enduring economic development plan for our community.