A Journey to Collaboration

Finding common ground has been the basis of the relationship between the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the Province of British Columbia. A relationship that originated in conflict grew into a collaborative partnership as we both realized, through dialogue, that we shared similar values and interests in protecting and conserving Say Nuth Khaw Yum (Indian Arm).

In 1995, the Province announced the creation of “Indian Arm Provincial Park” from land surrounding the upper half of Indian Arm. Although the Province had been involved in treaty negotiations with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation since 1994, the decision to create a new park in the traditional territory of the Nation was made without the Nation’s knowledge.

While the Nation of course agreed that it was necessary to protect such a vital area, it was unacceptable that this decision was made on a unilateral basis without formal consultation. In keeping with the belief that aboriginal title has never been extinguished over our traditional territory, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation initiated legal proceedings to challenge the process by which the Park was created.

After a year of intense discussions, a Management Agreement was signed between the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the Province of British Columbia on January 16, 1998. The agreement was based on our shared interests in protecting the cultural and natural resources of this important area, and established a Park Management Board with equal representation from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the Province. The Board is supported by a Joint Technical Committee consisting of staff from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the Province. The park was renamed “Say Nuth Khaw Yum/Indian Arm Provincial Park”.

The Management Agreement was ahead of its time in forging new relationships between First Nations and the Province. It formed the foundation that enabled us to come together in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect. We are active participants in the decision-making of all aspects of planning, management, maintenance and operations. The objectives and principles set out in the agreement were used to guide the development of Say Nuth Khaw Yum/Indian Arm Park Plan.

By working together in an equitable partnership, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the Province of BC embarked upon a new journey of reconciliation and cooperation. Today, both the Tsleil-Waututh and the Province are committed to moving forward in the implementation of the Park Management Plan for Say Nuth Khaw Yum/Indian Arm Provincial Park for the benefit of all British Columbians now and in the generations to come.

To download a copy of the plan please click here.

For an overview of bioregional planning please click here.

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