About Us

Our History

In October 1990, leaders of First Nations met with the Prime Minister of Canada and then with the Premier and Cabinet of British Columbia urging the appointment of a tripartite task force to develop a process for modern treaty negotiations in BC. The federal and provincial governments agreed and on December 3rd, 1990, the BC Claims Task Force was established by agreement of the Government of Canada, the Government of British Columbia, and representative leadership of the First Nations.

Leaders from First Nations across British Columbia appointed three members to the BC Claims Task Force at a meeting called the First Nations Summit. Two members were appointed by the Government of Canada, and two by the Province of British Columbia. Following more than five and half months of deliberations, the 1991 Report of the BC Claims Task Force recommended that First Nations, Canada and British Columbia establish a new relationship based on mutual trust, respect and understanding – through political negotiations.

Our Role

The First Nations Summit is an action and solutions oriented First Nations-driven organization. The Summit’s original mandate is to advance discussions with the governments of Canada and BC to support First Nations in conducting their own direct treaty negotiations with Canada and BC. The foundation for the Summit’s mandate arises from:

  • the tripartite 1991 BC Claims Task Force Report jointly developed by the First Nations, Canada and BC,
  • the 1992 agreement to create the BC Treaty Commission as the independent body to “facilitate” treaty negotiations, and
  • subsequent federal and provincial legislation and the First Nations Summit Chiefs resolutions implementing the 1992 agreement and establishing the BC Treaty Commission as a distinct legal entity.

Approximately 150 First Nations participate in First Nations Summit assemblies and bring forward, discuss and provide political direction on issues of common concern.

In carrying out its mandate, the First Nations Summit does not participate as a negotiating party at any First Nations specific negotiations. Over time and through the collective decisions by First Nations Chiefs and leaders, as directed by resolutions, the Summit has been instructed to take a leadership and advocacy role on the full range of issues of concern to First Nations, including negotiations and implementation issues of treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements and day-to-day social and economic issues which affect First Nations.

A critical element of the First Nations Summit’s work includes identification of concrete steps to overcome negotiation barriers. In First Nations‐Crown treaty negotiations in BC, we are facing a number of process and substantive issues that pose significant challenges and must be overcome in order to reach treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.

Although the First Nations Summit remains committed to the made‐in‐BC approach to negotiations and to assisting First Nations in achieving full and comprehensive treaties as a primary objective, we fully respect and support decisions of any First Nation to enter into alternative agreements and other constructive arrangements to advance the interests and priorities of their respective nations.

First Nations - Crown Treaty Negotiations in BC

Meet our People

The executive of the First Nations Summit consists of a three (3) member political executive (FNS Task Group) and a two (2) member administrative executive (FNS Co-Chairs). Each member of the executive serves a three year term upon election.

We currently have a permanent staff of nine who implement the mandate, as determined by resolutions passed by chiefs in assembly at First Nations Summit Meetings, which are held three times each year.

Executive & Staff

Fundamental Principles

  1. We have an inalienable right to exist as distinct peoples.
  2. Our participation in this and any subsequent discussions does not constitute abandonment of each First Nation’s understanding of Aboriginal Title and Treaty Rights.
  3. Our mandate is to advance discussions with Governments in order to position First Nations to conduct their own direct negotiations with the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia.
  4. We are not proposing a process which promotes a blanket resolution but rather, a General Framework which would outline the scope of negotiations, the time frames, funding arrangements and the implementation of such interim measures as may be required.
  5. We support and endorse negotiation currently underway in particular, those of the Nisga’a Nation. This is not an acceptance of any settlement model to be imposed on any other Tribal group or Nation.
  6. We hereby reaffirm our conviction that all First Nations have the right to be represented by whomever they choose. First Nations’ political institutions must be recognized, respected, and incorporated into the Process at the desire of those First Nations.
  7. Third party interests are represented by the Federal and Provincial governments.
  8. The content of any negotiations will include, among other things:
    1. Land and Water
    2. Compensation
    3. Self-government
    4. Access to and ownership of natural resources.
  9. Final resolutions shall constitute land claims agreements within the meaning of s. 25 and s. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

The Story of Our Logo

"Common Ties" by Susan Point, Musqueam First Nation

The imagery of “Common Ties” illustrates the connections between all life on Mother Earth. At the bottom, you have Mother Earth and her fire where we all come from and she continues to provide for us.

Learn More