Glossary of Treaty Terms


Aboriginal people – all indigenous people of Canada, including Indians (status and non-status), Metis and Inuit people (as defined in the Constitution Act of 1982).

Aboriginal rights – refer to practices, traditions and customs which are integral to the distinctive culture of an aboriginal society and were practiced prior to European contact. Aboriginal rights are the freedom to use and occupy traditional lands and resources to maintain a traditional lifestyle and are protected under the Constitution Act of 1982.

Aboriginal title – a unique interest in lands and resources based on ancestral occupation and use. A sub-category of aboriginal rights dealing with land ownership.

Access – when used in connection with treaty lands, the term refers to the rights non-beneficiaries have to cross or be on treaty lands.

Act – a law passed by a federal or provincial parliament.

Agreement in Principle (AIP) – the document produced in the fourth stage of the six-stage treaty process. The AIP outlines the major points of agreement between the three negotiating parties and forms the foundation for final treaty negotiations.

AIP – see Agreement in Principle.

Allocation – usually refers to the giving out of something such as permits to trap or hunt.

AOI – see Area of Interest

Area of Interest – Areas that have been marked as potential land to be included in the ongoing Treaty negotiations.

BCTC – see British Columbia Treaty Commission.

BCTC process – see six-stage treaty process.

Beneficiary – a person who is eligible to gain benefits from a treaty.

British Columbia Treaty Commission (BCTC) – an independent body of four commissioners appointed by Canada, British Columbia and the First Nations Summit responsible for overseeing the six-stage process for negotiating treaties in BC. The parties jointly appoint the BCTC Chief Commissioner who is the fifth member of the Commission.

Capacity-building – the development of human, technical and financial resources in First Nation communities. For example, some First Nations may require capacity building to respond to provincial requests for consultation concerning aboriginal rights or to carry out the authorities that they will assume under treaty.

Certainty provisions – treaty provisions designed to clearly define the authorities, rights and responsibilities of all three parties to the treaty.

Citizenship code – a document that outlines how membership is determined.

Claim area – area identified by a First Nation as the basis for negotiating treaty settlement land.

Comprehensive claim – a claim made by a First Nation based upon continuing aboriginal rights and title (traditional use and occupancy) which have not been dealt with by treaty or other legal means.

Constitution – is the document that governs how an organization or government operates.

Cooperative management – arrangements made between the Province and First Nations to involve First Nations in provincial land and resource management processes.

Crown activity – any activity for which Canada or the Province is responsible through legislation, regulation or policy. These activities may involve the issuance of tenure (permit, license, lease) or grants, or the approval to conduct a specific activity.

Crown grant – usual mechanism by which the Crown conveys land to persons or corporations who then hold the land in private ownership.

Crown land – land or an interest in land, owned by Canada or the Province. Almost all crown land in BC is owned by the Province.

Crown tenure – a legal interest in Crown lands or resources, issued by the Province in the form of a permit, license, lease or approval.

Eligibility – entitlement to treaty benefits.

Enrolment – process of documenting and registering eligible treaty beneficiaries.

Expropriation – process by which government takes private lands for public use such as roads or power lines.

Extinguishment – term used to describe the cessation or surrender of aboriginal rights to lands and resources in exchange for rights granted in treaty. Canada and British Columbia have agreed that extinguishment is not part of the BCTC six-stage treaty process.

Fee simple – land holding commonly characterized as private ownership and the way most private land is held in Canada. Usually only includes the surface.

Fiduciary duty – legal obligation of one party to act in the best interests of another. Canada and British Columbia have a fiduciary duty which require them to consult with and meet the concerns of aboriginal people in the province.

Final agreement – fifth stage of the six-stage treaty process. The final agreement embodies the principles outlined in the Agreement in Principle which are to be included in the treaty. Once ratified by the three parties the final agreement becomes a treaty.

Financial transfer arrangements – arrangements made in treaties for funding First Nation governments. The fiscal arrangements among each First Nation, Canada and British Columbia identify the revenue sources available to the First Nation government for carrying out its governance responsibilities and determine whether, and to what extent, Canada and the Province contribute to those revenues.

First Nation – an aboriginal governing body organized and established by an aboriginal community that has the power to negotiate on a government-to-government basis with Canada and British Columbia. “First Nation” also refers to the aboriginal community itself.

First Nation land – see treaty settlement land.

First Nations Summit – an umbrella organization of BC First Nations and tribal councils who are involved with or supportive of the British Columbia Treaty Commission process. The First Nations Summit is one of the parties to the BCTC agreement.

Fiscal arrangements – government financial arrangements for treaties, including financial limits on settlements, revenue raising powers negotiated in the treaty, cost sharing arrangements between Canada and the Province, financial transfer arrangements with First Nations, and compensation arrangements with third parties.

Governance – the ruling of an area or of a people.

Implementation – sixth phase of the six-stage treaty process. In the implementation stage the terms of a treaty are put into effect. Program, financial, legislative and other commitments which have been articulated in the final treaty agreement are fulfilled.

INAC – acronym for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. INAC is responsible for negotiating treaties on behalf of Canada.

Indian Act – federal legislation designed to give effect to the legislative authority of Canada for “Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians,” pursuant to s.91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867.

Indian – a term used historically to describe the first inhabitants of the “New World” and used to define indigenous people under the federal Indian Act. The term has generally been replaced by “aboriginal people” as defined in the Constitution Act of 1982.

Indian reserve – defined in section 2 of the Indian Act as a tract of land that has been set apart by the federal government for the use of an Indian band. The federal government holds legal title to Indian reserve land.

Infringement – an action of the Crown which impairs an aboriginal right.

Initialled agreement – an agreement which treaty chief negotiators for Canada, British Columbia and the First Nation have initialled as a means of expressing their intention to recommend the agreement to their respective authorities for approval.

Interest-based negotiations – approach to negotiating treaties in which negotiators focus on objectives rather than stating a single acceptable outcome as in position-based negotiations. This approach allows negotiators the flexibility to explore options that meet the objectives of all parties.

Interim measures – any activity undertaken by British Columbia in the interim before treaties are concluded that is related to the management or use of land or resources and aimed at meeting BC’s legal obligations while balancing the rights and interests of aboriginal and non-aboriginal British Columbians. Interim measures are conducted by individual line ministries within their day to day operating mandate.

Interim Measures Agreements – agreements negotiated by Canada, the Province and First Nations before or during treaty negotiations when an interest is being affected which could undermine the treaty process.

Jurisdiction – having control that is recognize by law.

Land tenure – how land is held or owned.

Land claims agreement – term used by Canada to refer to a treaty with a First Nation.

Land settlement model – description of the legal status of treaty settlement land which will follow from the particular legal mechanism used to transfer the land from the Crown to First Nations.

Legal obligations – obligations regarding Crown activity which arise from court decisions. When the Province engages in Crown activity it must determine if aboriginal rights exist in the area of the proposed activity, whether the activity will infringe upon those rights, and make efforts to avoid or minimize the infringement of those rights to every extent possible.

Legal uniformity – policy which holds that some laws will apply uniformly across the province after treaties are concluded. This includes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Criminal Code.

Legislation – Acts passed by a parliament.

Main Table – Ongoing treaty meetings where the chief negotiators for Canada, British Columbia and the Ktunaxa Nation and their teams negotiate their parties’ interests and discuss treaty issues.

Mandates – see treaty mandates.

Mitigate – to lessen damages.

Non-status Indian – a person of aboriginal ancestry who is not recognized by the Indian Act or has chosen not to be registered under the Act.

Precedent – something that has happened in the past which can be used as an example.

Protocol – an accepted way of doing things.

Ratification – the process to officially accept and approve agreements.

Regulations – rules that give more specific details to an Act.

Resource revenues – revenues from resource extraction and related activities that go to Canada or the Province usually in the form of rents or royalties.

Resource revenue-sharing – sharing of rents or royalties between the federal and/or provincial government and First Nations.

Royalty – a form of tax governments collect on resources.

s.35 – section of the Constitution Act, 1982 that states that aboriginal rights and treaty rights are recognized and affirmed. Makes it clear that treaty rights include rights that exist now by way of land claim agreements or that may be so acquired. As a result of this constitutional protection, the Crown has an obligation not to infringe upon aboriginal and treaty rights without justification.

Self-government – the regulation of a First Nation by its own people.

Settlement land – see treaty settlement land.

Side Table – Ongoing treaty meetings where the negotiating teams for Canada, British Columbia and the Ktunaxa Nation discuss treaty issues and develop draft treaty documents which they present for formal review and approval by the chief negotiators at Main Table negotiation sessions.

Six-stage treaty process – process established for all treaty negotiations in British Columbia. The six stages are:

1. A First Nation sends a statement of intent to BCTC.
2. The readiness of all three parties is established.
3. The parties negotiate a framework agreement.
4. The parties negotiate an agreement in principle.
5. The parties negotiate a final agreement.
6. The provisions of the treaty are implemented.

Sovereignty – complete ownership and jurisdiction of an area or country.

Status Indian – person recognized as an Indian under the Indian Act.

Sub-agreements – chapters within the Agreement in Principle document which, when completed and initialled by the chief negotiators, lay the foundation for the final agreement.

Subsurface – that portion of the ground that is below the first few feet. Usually refers to minerals, oil, gas, etc.

Supersede – means to overrule or to be “more important than”. Generally used with legislation to show which Act is more powerful.

Surface – that portion of the ground that does not include subsurface resources. Usually refers to the organic layer and the first few feet of dirt.

Sustainable – means to be able to carry on indefinitely. For example, when used in connection to logging it means to log at a pace at which the growth of new trees keeps up with the amount of trees logged.

Sustenance – hunting, fishing and gathering for survival.

Tenure – see land tenure.

Third parties – parties outside of governments and First Nations who have an interest in treaty negotiations including parties who hold legal interests, rights, permits or leases granted by a government.

Traditional territory – the geographic area identified by a First Nation to be the area of land which they and/or their ancestors traditionally occupied or used. See also aboriginal rights.

Treaty – an agreement between governments and a First Nation that defines the rights of aboriginal people with respect to lands and resources over a specified area and may also define the self-government authority of a First Nation. Treaties are final agreements which have been ratified by all three parties.

Treaty mandates – instructions for negotiators from their respective governments which set out treaty policy related to the subjects to be negotiated.

Treaty settlement land – area of land that is owned and managed by a First Nation pursuant to a treaty.