UBC Undergraduate Research

After the Nisga’a treaty : an evaluation of government authority, botanical forest products use and commercial forestry on Nisga’a lands Leger, Steph


The long journey to autonomy the Nisga’a people have endured has ended after 113 years. Through long processes and negotiations with the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia, the Nisga’a have triumphed in truly owning what was always theirs. The 2000 km2 area nestled in the Nass River Valley is today under the governance of the Nisga’a Lisims Government (NLG). Many things have changed since the Nisga’a Final Agreement was signed in May of 2000. This paper examines the changes that have occurred on Nisga’a Lands with respect to forestry, government authority and the pine mushroom (Tricholoma magnivelare [Peck] Redhead) industry from the beginning of the transitory period until recently. The NLG has always placed great value in the pine mushroom industry as it has generated revenue for the Nisga’a people. The Nisga’a have voiced their concerns over the maintenance and enhancement of these valuable botanicals. As is evident in this paper, the NLG Land Use Plans reflect this value and has placed timber resources second to non-timber forest products and botanicals. The Nisga’a Forest Act has enacted legislation to ensure that this is enforced during any activity on Nisga’a Lands. The Nisga’a Forest Act has essentially picked up where the Forest Act has left and has enabled the NLG the ability to manage its resources how it deems appropriate. In many ways the NLG manages Nisga’a Lands in the same fashion as does the Province of British Columbia on Crown land. The big difference is that it does not need to address the needs of anyone outside the Nisga’a lands and villages. There is still a certain lack of clarity with respect to certain laws and when they apply. One thing is for certain however, the Nisga’a people through the powers of the NLG and the enacted laws and regulations it has drafted have essentially eliminated any dependence on the governments of Canada and British Columbia now and in the future.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada