B.C. transferring 312 hectares of land to 2 Vancouver Island First Nations

B.C. transferring 312 hectares of land to 2 Vancouver Island First Nations

The B.C. government has signed an Incremental Treaty Agreement with the Lyackson First Nation and Cowichan Tribes that will see 312 hectares of culturally significant land returned to the two Nations.

Through the agreement, the 312-parcel of land located near Skutz Falls Provincial Park will be returned to the two Nations, which will both hold the lands through an inter-community memorandum of understanding, until a plan is in place to divide the lands into two equal parcels.

The province purchased the land from Mosaic Forest Management, and estimates the land is valued at $8.55 million.

The full video report can be viewed below:

Cultural history

The province says that prior to colonization, the Lyackson First Nation had a winter village at the mouth of the Cowichan River.

But now, the Lyackson’s reserve lands are located only on Valdes Island, just south of Gabriola Island.

The province says Valdes Island does not have ferry service and has difficulty accessing water, electricity and other infrastructure services.

“The agreement and land transfer are a historic step to address Lyackson’s long-standing need for a place to live, gather, access services and lay community members to rest,” said the province in a release Saturday.

The land is also located near an existing Cowichan Tribes Indian Reserve known as Skutz Falls IR8.

This area is used for fishing and harvesting, and has “significant importance” to Cowichan Tribes, according to the province.

“This is a historic day for our community – one we’ve been advocating for and working toward for multiple generations,” said Lyackson Chief Pahalicktun (Richard Thomas).

“It is the first step in bringing the Leeyq’sun Mustimuhw back together in a village, which will strengthen our community, our culture and our economy for today and for future generations,” he said.

Chief Pahalicktun added that the Nation was grateful for the efforts of Cowichan Tribes and the province.

“Cowichan Tribes is pleased to support our Lyackson relatives in accordance with our Sunw’uy’ulh (teachings) and divide these lands in a good and equitable way,” said Cowichan Tribes Chief Cindy Daniels (Sulsulxumaat).

“Together, we are advancing a collaborative approach to addressing the urgent need for land for our citizens,” she said.

SEE ALSO: Snuneymuxw land agreement will see 80 hectares returned to Vancouver Island First Nation

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