The B.C. Treaty Commission is “the independent body responsible for facilitating treaty negotiations among the governments of Canada, British Columbia and First Nations in B.C. The Treaty Commission and the treaty process were established in 1992 by agreement among Canada, B.C. and the First Nations Summit. They are guided by those agreements and the 1991 Report of the B.C. Claims Task Force, which is the blueprint for the made-in-B.C. treaty process.”
“The Treaty Commission and the six-stage treaty process were designed to advance negotiations and facilitate fair and durable treaties. The Treaty Commission’s primary role is to oversee the negotiation process to make sure that the parties are being effective and making progress in negotiations. In carrying out the recommendations of the B.C. Claims Task Force, the Treaty Commission has three roles: facilitation, funding and public information and education.”
As part of its public education mandate, the Treaty Commission aims to keep the public well-informed about developments in the made-in-B.C. treaty negotiations process. They regularly provide news releases on current events and developments related to negotiations, host and partner on events that offer education on different aspects of treaty negotiations and build capacity among First Nations approaching treaty, and utilize various forms of social media for public outreach. Their website includes a Human Resources Capacity Toolkit for First Nations who are working through the treaty process, an Interactive Timeline of the BCTC since it was established, annual reports with insights from B.C. treaty processes, and tri-annual newsletters with treaty negotiation updates. The website also includes information about Aboriginal rights, self-government, land and resources, fishing, forestry, and financial issues related to treaties.
The BCTC website hosts a Curriculum Archive, which includes lesson plans for teachers. For primary school students, there is a From Time Immemorial: The First People of the Pacific Northwest Coast Teacher’s Guide, at the secondary school level, the Nisga’a Dancing in Both Worlds video and lesson plans, and What’s the Deal with Treaties? handbook, and at the University/College level, there is a list of recommended books that can be integrated into curriculum. The website also has a number of educational videos such as Our Sacred Strength: Talking Circles Among Aboriginal Women, Sharing the Experience, and Sharing the Vision. These videos can be watched online or ordered from the Commission, and some of them include discussion facilitation guides.