iʔ sc̓ax̌ʷtət (MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING)

BETWEEN

THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA AS REPRESENTED BY THE MINISTER OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE PARKS CANADA AGENCY

(“CANADA”)

AND

THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA AS REPRESENTED BY THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE STRATEGY

(“BRITISH COLUMBIA”)

AND

THE OKANAGAN NATION AS REPRESENTED BY THE CHIEF OF THE OSOYOOS INDIAN BAND AND THE CHIEF OF THE LOWER SIMILKAMEEN INDIAN BAND

(“sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (OKANAGAN NATION)”)

COLLECTIVELY REFERRED TO IN THIS AGREEMENT AS
“THE PARTIES”

RESPECTING

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A NATIONAL PARK RESERVE IN THE

nxʷəlxʷəltantət
(SOUTH OKANAGAN – SIMILKAMEEN REGION OF BRITISH COLUMBIA)

PREAMBLE

  1. WHEREAS the siwɬkʷ (waters), tmxʷulaxʷ (lands) and tmixʷ (four sacred life-force systems) of the nxʷəlxʷəltantət (South Okanagan – Similkameen) region of British Columbia has sustained sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Okanagan Nation) communities for thousands of years and will continue to do so;
  2. WHEREAS the Parties are committed to true and lasting reconciliation and a renewed government to government to government relationship that recognizes the ongoing presence and sk̓əɬtrar̓ / sk̓əɬtrar̓tət (inherent rights) of the sməlqmix/ suknaʔkinx (Okanagan Nation) people, of which the member communities include the Osoyoos Indian Band and the Lower Similkameen Indian Band;
  3. WHEREAS the Parties fully support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and commit to implement the Declaration in the context of Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, which recognizes and affirms the existing Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada;
  4. WHEREAS in recognition and respect for the different languages spoken by the Parties to the iʔ sc̓ax̌ʷtət (Memorandum of Understanding), the Parties have defined the nsyilxcən terms in the iʔ sc̓ax̌ʷtət (Memorandum of Understanding) with the English word or phrase in parenthesis immediately after the nsyilxcən term as well as in Annex 2;
  5. WHEREAS the Parties jointly announced in 2017 the launch of a tri-partite process to determine the terms and conditions to establish, develop and operate a proposed national park reserve in the nxʷəlxʷəltantət (South Okanagan – Similkameen) region, treating the area with the highest degree of respect and protecting and managing it for present and future generations of sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Okanagan Nation) people and all Canadians;
  6. WHEREAS after reviewing the results of a series of studies and community and stakeholder consultations, the governments of Canada and British Columbia and the sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Lower Similkameen Indian Band / Osoyoos Indian Band) have concluded that the proposed national park reserve is feasible and have agreed to undertake the necessary work to protect the area under the Canada National Parks Act;
  7. WHEREAS in keeping with the Okanagan Declaration and the Okanagan Water Declaration, and after reviewing the results of the prefeasibility assessment and renewed community consultations with sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Lower Similkameen Indian Band / Osoyoos Indian Band)members, sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Lower Similkameen Indian Band / Osoyoos Indian Band) haveagreed to undertake the necessary work to protect a portion of the nxʷəlxʷəltantət (South Okanagan – Similkameen) region;
  8. WHEREAS the Sir Wilfred Laurier Memorial 1910 (PDF, 1.85 Mb) provides guidance to the sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Okanagan Nation) on land management and collaborative responsibility for ecosystem management in which the Chiefs of the Shuswap, Okanagan and Couteau or Thompson tribes said, “These people wish to be partners with us in our country. We must, therefore, be the same as brothers to them, and live as one family. We will share equally in everything half and half in land, water and timber, etc. What is ours will be theirs, and what is theirs will be ours. We will help each other to be great and good.”;
  9. WHEREAS the establishment of a proposed national park reserve in the nxʷəlxʷəltantət (South Okanagan – Similkameen) region will result in contributing to Canada's international and domestic commitments pursuant to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity of 1992 and Canada's Biodiversity Target 1;
  10. WHEREAS the parties agree to knʔxtwix (work together) to protect biodiversity, including biocultural diversity, specifically K̓in̓'kin̓t iʔ tmixʷ (Species at Risk) and species of cultural significance to the sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Okanagan Nation) people, and their habitats. These efforts to protect biocultural diversity will be balanced with the ability of the sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Okanagan Nation) people to secure their social, cultural, environment, economic self-sufficiency and prosperity;
  11. WHEREAS the protection of species and ecosystems of cultural significance and endangered species and endangered habitats is a common goal of the Parties to ensure the living connection between land and people, between water and land, between culture and ecology remains intact for present and future generations and acknowledge the need for broader management of bio-cultural values across the sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Okanagan Nation) territory as the Parties work towards the common goal of protecting the nxʷəlxʷəltantət (South Okanagan – Similkameen) region; and
  12. WHEREAS the foundation that supports this iʔ sc̓ax̌ʷtət (Memorandum of Understanding) is a framework of naqscn / knʔxtwix (collaboration) amongst the Parties.

NOW THEREFORE the Government of Canada, the Government of the Province of British Columbia, and the sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Okanagan Nation), represented by governments of the Lower Similkameen Indian Band and the Osoyoos Indian Band, agree as follows:

ESTABLISHMENT OF A NATIONAL PARK RESERVE

  1. The Parties agree that it is feasible to continue to work together towards the establishment of a proposed national park reserve in the tx̌asqn (Mt. Kobau), kɬlilxʷ (Spotted Lake)and nk̓lpulaxʷ (Kilpoola) iʔ nxʷəlxʷəltantət (of the South Okanagan – Similkameen) region of British Columbia by negotiating the necessary agreement to establish a national park reserve under the Canada National Parks Act.
  2. The working boundary for the proposed national park reserve is depicted in Annex 1.
  3. In negotiating the protection of nxʷəlxʷəltantət (the South Okanagan – Similkameen) region, the Parties will be mindful of skc̓x̌ʷx̌ʷiplaʔtntət (that all social and ecological management) is congruent with sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Okanagan Nation) land law, which has its origin in the sk̓əɬtrar̓ (inherent right) and the captikʷɬ (doctrine for transference of all knowledge).
  4. The Parties agree that the name of theproposed national park reserve will be formalized as part of an establishment agreement, and will be subject to the approval of the sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Lower Similkameen Indian Band / Osoyoos Indian Band).
  5. Canada undertakes to recommend to Parliament, prior to concluding an establishment agreement for a national park reserve, any amendment to the Canada National Parks Act that ensures that the definition of a national park reserve is expanded to include situations where an area or a part of an area proposed for a national park is subject to unsettled claims of an Indigenous collective that is not involved in the formal claims process.
  6. The establishment, development, management and operation of a proposed national park reserve in the nxʷəlxʷəltantət (South Okanagan – Similkameen) will respect Aboriginal and treaty rights consistent with Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  7. The Parties agree to support a consensus approach to decision making in the negotiation and the implementation of the national park reserve establishment agreement, and the ability for the Parties to make decisions on how the the siwɬkʷ (waters), tmxʷulaxʷ (lands) and tmixʷ (four sacred life-force systems) will be used, what economic benefits will be derived from these in the context of conservation, use and management, together. These concepts will be protected as described in the establishment agreement.

PROPOSED NATIONAL PARK RESERVE AREA BOUNDARY

  1. The boundary of the proposed national park reserve in the tx̌asqn (Mt Kobau),kɬlilxʷ (Spotted Lake) and nk̓lpulaxʷ (Kilpoola)areas of the iʔ nxʷəlxʷəltantət (South Okanagan – Similkameen) region is intended to be substantially along the lines of the map in Annex 1, and encompass an area of approximately 27,300 hectares (273 km2) or 67,500 acres.
  2. The Parties agree that the final boundary of the proposed national park reserve will be supported and informed by ongoing discussions regarding existing and proposed protected areas in the nxʷəlxʷəltantət (South Okanagan – Similkameen) region, including federal, provincial and Indigenous protection initiatives which could lead to the achievement of larger conservation goals and support ecosystem connectivity. The Parties agree that best efforts should be made to work with adjacent land managers to help mitigate impacts to the environment within the boundary.
  3. In negotiating the establishment agreement, the initial focus will be on transferring the administration and control of provincial Crown lands, including provincial protected areas, as the first phase of the proposed national park reserve, supplemented by the possible purchase of private lands by Canada at fair market value on a willing seller – willing buyer basis within the boundary.
  4. As directed by Parliament under the Canada National Parks Act, Canada cannot and will not expropriate private property in order to establish or expand a national park or national park reserve. Private lands will only be acquired for the proposed national park reserve purposes on a willing seller – willing buyer basis.
  5. All public highways under the administration of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure are intended to continue as such and the Parties intend that they will not become toll roads.
  6. All public utility corridors and associated statutory rights of way will remain under the authority of the grantor of that specific utility / statutory right of way.
  7. Residents will not have to pay a fee to access their homes/private property or to receive guests.
  8. The establishment of the proposed national park reserve will not change the jurisdiction of Indigenous, local, provincial or federal governments in relation to the lands adjacent to it.

INTERIM PROTECTION

  1. While negotiations respecting the proposed national park reserve continue, and until the administration and control of the provincial Crown lands, including provincial protected areas, are transferred to Canada, British Columbia will seek to maintain or put in place as applicable interim protection measures over the provincial Crown lands, including provincial protected areas, to ensure that no new allocations for timber harvesting, mineral exploration and development, or further alienation of provincial Crown lands occur.
  2. While negotiations respecting the proposed national park reserve continue, and until the administration and control of the provincial Crown lands, including provincial protected areas, are transferred to Canada, the existing regulatory licensing processes, and terms and conditions, subject to existing management policies, for existing licenses, leases and other tenures will continue.
  3. While negotiations respecting the proposed national park reserve continue, and until the administration and control of the provincial Crown lands, including provincial protected areas, are transferred to Canada, British Columbia will undertake enhanced engagement and consultation with sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Lower Similkameen Indian Band / Osoyoos Indian Band) on decisions related to existing applications and any applications for renewal of any existing licences, leases and other authorizations within the proposed national park reserve boundary.

NEGOTIATION OF ESTABLISHMENT AGREEMENT

  1. Canada, British Columbia and the sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (OkanaganNation) as represented by the Lower Similkameen Indian Band and the Osoyoos Indian Band will proceed to negotiate a formal national park reserve establishment agreement that will define the terms and conditions for the establishment, development, management and operation of a national park reserve.
  2. Negotiation of an establishment agreement will allow the Parties to recommend to their respective decision making bodies the protection of the lands and waters currently under the administration and control of British Columbia identified in the proposed boundary, and their management consistent with the Canada National Parks Act and with sk̓əɬtrar̓ (inherent right), the captikʷɬ (doctrine for transference of all knowledge), the siwɬkʷ (waters), tmxʷulaxʷ (lands) and tmixʷ (four sacred life-force systems) of the sməlqmix/suknaʔkinx (Okanagan Nation).
  3. For greater clarity, the authority to enter into the national park reserve establishment agreement will require additional approvals from each of the Parties.
  4. Prior to initiating negotiations towards a national park reserve establishment agreement, the Parties will organize a workshop for their representatives for the purpose of reviewing and understanding the relevant laws and governance mechanisms that the Parties must be mindful of in negotiating an establishment agreement.
  5. Without an establishment agreement reached among the Parties under clause 17, the federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, the provincial Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, and the chiefs and councils of the Lower Similkameen Indian Band and the Osoyoos Indian Band will not recommend establishment of a national park reserve.
  6. The sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Lower Similkameen Indian Band / Osoyoos Indian Band) decision making systems require a community-based decision-making process which is embedded in sk̓əɬtrar̓ (inherent right), the captikʷɬ (doctrine for transference of all knowledge) and sm̓iʔm̓ày (the stories of transition between animal people to human domain) and includes use of naqscn (speaking with one voice), knʔxtwix (helping each other), k̓əɬʕac̓xəntm (considering multi-generational impacts) and nʕawqntəm(coming together for on-going discussions to reach consensus) principles guided by miʔscut (traditional knowledge) and ceremony.
  7. The parties intend that the proposed national park reserve establishment agreement will include provisions related to:
    1. finalization of the boundary for the proposed national park reserve in the nxʷəlxʷəltantət (South Okanagan – Similkameen) region;
    2. timing and process for the transfer of administration and control of provincial Crown lands to Canada for the purpose of establishing a proposed national park reserve in the nxʷəlxʷəltantət (South Okanagan – Similkameen) region under the Canada National Parks Act;
    3. management of said lands between the coming into effect of the establishment agreement and the date the lands are listed under Schedule 2 of the Canada National Parks Act;
    4. federal investment in the establishment, development, management and operation of the national park reserve;
    5. provisions specific to third party interests related to terms and conditions of existing leases, licenses, and permits; and
    6. any other items to which the Parties agree.
  8. The parties intend that the proposed national park reserve establishment agreement will also include provisions specific to sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Okanagan Nation) sk̓əɬtrar̓ (inherent right), the captikʷɬ (doctrine for transference of all knowledge) and sm̓iʔm̓ày (events of historical significance accounts and the stories of transition between animal people to human domain), and suxʷ tuxʷcncut (the collective cultural code and practise, embedded within oral story systems and historic accounts and interests) related to:
    1. co-operative management regime that defines how the Parties will work together to establish, develop and manage a national park reserve, management planning and the development of a system that includes traditional / cultural management and western methodologies;
    2. affirming the continuation of fishing, hunting, water access and management, gathering, foods and medicines, and associated management practises, and provisions for the mitigation of any impacts to sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Okanagan Nation) for traditional use and harvesting within the proposed national park reserve;
    3. traditional use, harvest and protection practices for cultural and ceremonial use of lut m̓ʔisxn (minerals) such as ochre and obsidian;
    4. ranching / range and other historic and current tenures and practices;
    5. forestry and other practises related to management and restoration of forests and forest and non-timber forest products;
    6. protection and management of spiritual or culturally significant sites and special management areas (e.g. hunting areas, etc.) and ongoing use and access to such areas including campsites, pictograph sites, archaeological sites, and ceremonial sites;
    7. the use of miʔscut (traditional ecological knowledge) in protection, management and harvest practises includingfire and water management;
    8. engagement of miʔscut (traditional ecological knowledge) ofelders and youth, and the promotion and use of sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Okanagan Nation) language and cultural knowledge and resource management within all aspects of national park reserve implementation;
    9. training opportunities to assist sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Lower Similkameen Indian Band / Osoyoos Indian Band) community members to take advantage of employment opportunities in the national park reserve;
    10. economic and employment opportunities for sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Lower Similkameen Indian Band / Osoyoos Indian Band ) community members in the national park reserve and measures which will be adopted to assist sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Lower Similkameen Indian Band / Osoyoos Indian Band ) community members to take advantage of such opportunities in the national park reserve; and
    11. emergency measures and mitigation (e.g. fire, floods, invasive species issues, etc.).
  9. Canada will fund any reasonable additional financial requirements of the sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Lower Similkameen Indian Band / Osoyoos Indian Band) that may be required to enable the sməlqmix / suknaʔkinx (Lower Similkameen Indian Band / Osoyoos Indian Band) to participate effectively in negotiation of the establishment agreement, participate in community engagement and consultation, and participate in public consultation.
  10. The proposed national park reserve establishment agreement may also include provisions for the establishment of a local advisory committee to provide advice on park issues as they pertain to local community matters, and other authorizations as required.

COMMUNICATIONS SECTION

  1. The Parties commit to developing a communications protocol covering all communications regarding the negotiation and establishment of a proposed national park reserve including release of this iʔ sc̓ax̌ʷtət (Memorandum of Understanding).
  2. The Parties agree to develop and distribute communications materials on an on-going basis in order to convey updates on the establishment process of the proposed national park reserve.

EFFECT OF MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

  1. This iʔ sc̓ax̌ʷtət (Memorandum of Understanding) is an expression of the mutual intentions of the Parties and is not legally binding on them or enforceable against them.
  2. This iʔ sc̓ax̌ʷtət (Memorandum of Understanding) is not intended to be a treaty or land claim agreement within the meaning of section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  3. This iʔ sc̓ax̌ʷtət (Memorandum of Understanding) is an expression of the mutual intentions and goodwill of the Parties and is not intended to create, recognize, affect or deny any rights, claims, positions or obligations of any of the Parties.
  4. This iʔ sc̓ax̌ʷtət (Memorandum of Understanding) will come into effect when signed by the Parties and will remain in effect until a proposed national park reserve establishment agreement is negotiated or a Party withdraws from the iʔ sc̓ax̌ʷtət (Memorandum of Understanding).
  5. This iʔ sc̓ax̌ʷtət (Memorandum of Understanding) can only be amended with the prior written consent of all the Parties.
  6. A Party may withdraw from the iʔ sc̓ax̌ʷtət (Memorandum of Understanding) upon providing 60 days written notice to the other Parties.

This Memorandum of Understanding signed in Osoyoos, British Columbia, this 2nd day of July 2019 by:

For the Government of Canada
Original signed by
The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

For the Government of British Columbia
Original signed by
The Honourable George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy

For the Lower Similkameen Indian Band
Original signed by
kalʔlùpaɋʹn Ylmixwm Keith Crow – Lower Similkameen Indian Band

For the Osoyoos Indian Band
Original signed by
ki law na Ylmixwm Clarence Louie – Osoyoos Indian Band


ANNEX 1

The map presents the working boundary for the national park reserve in the South Okanagan – Similkameen. Each colour on the map represents the different land owners for the given areas within the working boundary. The colours represent the following:

  • Grey areas are current crown lands.
  • Orange areas are private lands.
  • Red areas are private lands owned by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
  • Yellow areas are private lands owned by the Nature Trust.
  • Purple areas are Indian Reserves.
  • Green areas area provincially protected areas and.
  • Yellow stripes are ALR/Boundary Intersections.

The working boundary encompasses an area of approximately 273km² (27,300 hectares).

South Okanagan – Similkameen proposed National Park Reserve working boundary map

ANNEX 2

Glossary of nsyilxcən Terms

k̓əɬʕac̓xən: Look underneath the obvious, our actions to see how our actions or tracks that we leave are connected to the future, our grandchildren, the continuation of all creation, and to the tracks they make on the land into the future.

nʕawqntəm: Consensus making dialogue where a topic is scrutinized at a meeting or gathering.

sk̓əɬtrar̓/sk̓əɬtrar̓tət: The inherent / inherited or ancestral domain / sovereignty.

nʕawqnwixʷ: Ceremonial dispute resolution process utilizing the 4 food chiefs.

captikʷɬ: Referred to as doctrine for the transference of all knowledge.

stɬʔtaɬt: A word used in translation for Title and Rights of people but refers to a responsibility toward humanity or all ecology the Rights of the People.

tmixʷ: Refers to all ecology in creation 4 sacred life forces.

skc’x̌ʷiplaʔtəntət: The law/responsibility which outline our Right, law that govern every aspect of our lives that are derived from capt̕ikʷɬ which is passed from the creator through oral culture.

naqscn: The speaking with one voice as a family or nation for a common goal or vital decisions.

knʔxtwix: Helping each other with all aspects of our living building, hunting, ceremonies, etc.

nxʷəlxʷəltantət: That which gives us life referring to a part of or the whole Territory.

miʔscut: Expertise in the field or topic in all aspects of ceremony, laws, discipline and management of water, land, 4 eco-systems and people.

kɬlilxʷ: Spotted Lake

nk̓lpulaxʷ: Kilpoola as it is known by settlers – the home of coyotes' wife mole woman.

tx̌asqn: Known as Mt. Kobau.

sməlqmix: People of the Similkameen valley.

suknaʔkinx: The Okanagan peoples name for themselves – the people of the Okanagan valley.

K̓in̓’kin̓t iʔ tmixʷ: The endangered species within the 4 sacred ecosystems.

sm̓iʔm̓ày: Modern day stories during the time of transition from the animal people to human domain.

iʔ sc̓ax̌ʷtət: Setting out a plan or work to be conducted over a timeframe (until complete).

tuxʷcncutlx/suxʷ tuxʷcncut: Gathered food for themselves or made a living from activities on the water, land and resources in a reciprocal and sustainable manner.

lut m̓ʔisxn: Minerals not naming just one but referring to all minerals.