The Katzie Treaty Team
website will inform and educate its members and the general public on
its vital and historic treaty negotiations with Canada and British
10946 Katzie Road,
The Katzie traditional territory is identified
as precisely as possible as that territory granted by the Creator, to the descendants of
Oe’lecten and Swaneset - the Katzie
people. It comprises the land and resources over which Katzie people
have asserted title and rights, according to Katzie customary law, from
For the purposes of the BC Treaty Commission
process, the Katzie First Nation identifies as Katzie territory all
those lands, waters, and natural resources used and occupied by the
Katzie First Nation, and owned by the Katzie First Nation, according to
Katzie customary law.
The territory is identified as the entire Pitt
watershed, including the Alouette watershed to the height of land
surrounding the Pitt and Alouette drainages and includes as precisely as
formal agreements with neighboring First Nations will provide portions
of the Fraser River and lands adjacent to the Fraser River. The Katzie
First Nation’s understanding of its territory is strictly consistent
with all the evidence established from the earliest times by Peter
Pierre, Simon Pierre, and later by Katzie elders and by the contributions of
elders and representatives of neighboring First Nations.
Many Katzie families from other First Nations
have lived seasonally within the Katzie territory and have harvested
resources within this territory. While much land and much natural
resource wealth outside the identified territory may be properly
considered ‘shared territory’ with other First Nations, or may even
be considered by some to be properly Katzie territory, it remains
important to the Katzie people to identify lands and resources which
Katzie people alone, may with complete certainty, rightfully assert
unimpeded and unextinguished aboriginal title and rights.
The Katzie View on
At the outset, it is important to state that
aboriginal concepts related to title, rights and territory do not easily
conform to European or Canadian terms such as “territory” and
“boundary.” This difficulty is apparent in misunderstandings such as the
existence of apparent “overlapping claims.”
The Katzie people are part of a broader family of
peoples, beginning with the peoples of the river (very generally known
as “Sto:lo” people), including the Kwantlen, Coquitlam, Musqueam and
Tsawwassen people, extending throughout the Halkomelem-speaking peoples
of the mainland and Vancouver Island, and also including Straits Salish
people and all Coast Salish people. The Katzie people maintain
long-standing ties within this larger cultural family. Discussions with
Katzie elders clearly show that the English language and European
concepts are limited in their ability to articulate the nature of the
Katzie First Nation’s traditional view of “ownership,” to the extent
that it would likely be as true to say the land owned the Katzie people
as it is to say the Katzie people owned the land.
The challenge in “overlap” resolution is to
maintain the vitality and complexity of Coast Salish customary law as it
relates to title and territory, while at the same time conforming to the
rules under the BC Treaty Commission process.
The Katzie First Nation’s view of the territory
it identifies as its own must be understood in the context of the lands
and resources made available to the Katzie people by the Creator, and by
interventions of Khaals; by the history of the Katzie people until the
assertion of British sovereignty in 1846; and by the commandments that
have guided the Katzie people down through the ages and have come to
form the Katzie customary law.
Interviews with Katzie elders clearly demonstrate that:
- 1) The Katzie First Nation has always regarded itself and has always been regarded by neighboring First Nations, as the keeper and protector of the Katzie territory.
- 2) People from other First Nations communities have enjoyed long-standing associations within the Katzie community based upon linguistic, economic, social, cultural and ceremonial ties.
- 3) Other First Nations have always been welcome in the Katzie territory and it has been a long-standing tradition among the Katzie to invite relatives from neighboring First Nations to participate in the harvest of resources surplus to Katzie requirements.
- 4) It has been a long-standing tradition among neighboring First Nations to invite their relatives from Katzie to their territories for similar purposes, and to transport resources from their territories to the Katzie territory.
The archeological, cultural and ethnographic evidence of these traditions is overwhelming. These traditions of reciprocity and sharing form a significant aspect of the Katzie assertion of rights and title. The Katzie Treaty Team is committed to doing its utmost to ensure that these traditions are in no way encumbered by BC Treaty Commission process, or by eventual treaty settlement.
Statement on "Overlaps"
Late in 1995, some discussions involving the
Katzie First Nation, the Sto:lo, and other “Lower Mainland” First
Nations began, for the purpose of coming to some common approach to
resolving apparent overlaps in the area. The Katzie Treaty Team agreed
to try a common approach on the basis of a November 16, 1995 treaty team
discussion, which states, in summary:
- There is a Katzie territory within which no
other First Nation has any over-riding aboriginal title or rights:
Within Katzie territory, other First Nations and First Nations families
and individuals may have certain rights or interests that accord with
the customary law of the Katzie First Nation; These other First Nations
also hold traditional territories within which no other First Nation has
any over-riding aboriginal title or rights; Within those territories,
the Katzie First Nation, Katzie families and individuals may have
certain rights and interests, according to the customary laws of those
other First Nations; The Katzie First Nation recognizes that there may
be rights or interests in land and resources that it shares equally with
other First Nations.
To date, a number of agreements have been
reached with a few of our neigbouring First Nations, while other talks
have achieved some progress. The results of these talks have been made
available to the B.C. Treaty Commission and are available to the
negotiators of B.C. and Canada.
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