T’Sou-ke Nation and the Capital Regional District ratified an agreement today on traditional use and access in Sea to Sea Regional Park. The Agreement is the first of its type within CRD’s Regional Park system and sets out a new relationship with the CRD and T’Sou-ke Nation. It meets the CRD Board’s 2015-18 corporate priorities related to opening the regional park, relationship building with First Nations, and respectfully addresses the priority and significance that T’Sou-ke Nation has placed on access to these park lands.
“This agreement marks an important day in the brief history of our relationship and a critical step towards reconciliation,” said Chief Gordon Planes.
“The CRD is grateful to T’Sou-ke Nation, Chief Planes and his Council for their willingness to embark on this important approach to government-to-government relations,” said CRD Board Chair Steve Price. “The Sea to Sea Traditional Use and Access Agreement sets out meaningful approaches to building and strengthening relationships with a neighbouring First Nation. The Agreement will be of interest to provincial, federal and other regional governments.”
The Agreement reflects the Board’s commitment to meaningfully respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s ‘Calls to Action’ and it aligns with Article 25 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by respecting T’Sou-ke Nation’s spiritual and cultural attachment to its traditional lands.
The Agreement advances relationships between the CRD and the T’Sou-ke Nation, while ensuring Regional Park priorities related to conservation, public safety and outdoor recreation opportunities are realized. Decisions about how best to manage the environmental effects of access to the lands for traditional uses and outdoor recreation will be addressed through the establishment of a joint Parks Operations Management Committee. The Agreement sets out initiatives to address economic development related to park services including tourism.
T’Sou-ke Nation, named after the Stickleback fish that live in the estuary of the river, is located in the area around the Sooke Basin on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. T’Sou-ke’s traditional territory, on which their people have thrived for thousands of years, encompasses a vast area, however today the 250 community members live predominantly on the two reserves totaling 67 hectares that were allotted by the government in 1877. For more information visit the T’sou-ke Nation online.