As the negotiating parties meet monthly to negotiate and update the treaty, one of the most important things to the Gitga’at team is to keep the community informed. Here we will be delving into why the community is the most important factor in negotiations. Receiving your input and hearing from you about what’s important to you is something that’s important for us. Providing Gitga’at membership with the information you need and the time to absorb and consider that information is one of the Treaty team’s roles and commitments to the community. Supporting a healthy and informed dialogue between community members is also an important objective of the Treaty team and a key reason for the community meetings.

You’ve probably heard us talk about the Gitga’at voice. This can best be described as being the uniquely Gitga’at perspective on the territory, the adaawx, the way things were, the way they are and the way you want them to be. It’s also about the shared vision for caring for and protecting Gitga’at values and the territory itself. This is the Gitga’at voice, it’s your voice and we want to hear from you.

Protecting the land and environment by resisting pipelines is one example of the Gitga’at voice. Community meetings are the best place to present our progress and ensure that the vision of the nation aligns with what we are working for. These check-ins let us inform and be informed and this supports us in best representing Gitga’at and Gitga’at’a in the negotiations.  

What will eventually be a Treaty is the product of a long negotiation process involving hundreds of pages of material which need to be meticulously scoured through, questioned, challenged, and, finally, agreed on or not. To expect members to take it all in at once after things are negotiated would be completely unfair. As we’ve said on the Treaty Facebook page and on the website, at the end of the day, all Gitga’at of voting age will decide together whether to approve a Final Treaty or not. That’s what makes providing you with all the information we can, regularly, and always be open to addressing people’s questions and concerns is so important.

We believe that good decisions come from good information. We believe the best way to support your good decision is by providing you with the best information we possibly can.

Given the huge amount of information contained in a Treaty, we think the the best way to approach this challenge is to condense the issues into bite sized chunks (chapters), and to sit down with you all regularly to provide an overview of the chapters, highlight the issues, and answer your questions as they arise. Explaining the parks and protected areas, updating on our TRM (research) projects, and general chapter review are all examples of meetings held in order to share information needed for decision making.

Getting people talking amongst themselves goes a long way to identifying issues as they come up and leaving questions hanging indefinitely doesn’t help anyone. Our discussions at the Treaty table with BC and Canada are stronger because of our discussion together as a community.

Join us in May as we ramp up our meetings and feel free to stop by the treaty office to deliver your input. We can also be reached at gitgaattreaty.ca and facebook.com/gitgaattreaty. You can also reach Paul directly at 778.840.3382.