December 7, 2023
(xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C.) The First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) supports the Province of British Columbia’s (BC) release of its long-overdue Distinctions-Based Approach Primer (Primer) and applauds BC for clarifying its position on Métis rights in what is now known as British Columbia. As noted in the Primer, a distinctions-based approach, and appropriate respect for Indigenous laws and jurisdictions, means that the scope of rights enjoyed by an Indigenous People is contextual and that BC’s relations and dealings with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit must be conducted in a manner that is appropriate for the specific context, recognizing and respecting the distinct and different histories, rights, laws, legal systems, and systems of governance of each.
First Nations in what is now known as British Columbia have long called for the Crown to take a distinctions-based, not pan-Indigenous, approach in all its interactions and relations with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit. BC confirmed its commitment and need to taking a distinctions-based approach through the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act Action Plan, and the Draft Principles Respecting the Province of British Columbia’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples. The Primer includes helpful direction to provincial ministries and agencies which emphasize the importance of engaging with appropriate rights holders and ensuring that such engagement understands and is based on the history, diversity, and distinctiveness of those rights holders.