Maa-nulth Treaty Ratified
The Maa-nulth First Nations are five Nuu-chah-nulth-speaking Indigenous peoples located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. The journey to once again become self-governing has been long and difficult. For over 150 years Canada denied any Aboriginal right to self-government. In 1982 with the repatriation of the Canadian Constitution, Aboriginal identity and rights became constitutionally protected in Canada. Since much of British Columbia is not under treaty, the substance of these now-protected identities and rights required clarification and the BC Treaty Commission was established in 1992. Negotiations between the Maa-nulth, Canada and British Columbia through the BC Treaty Process, with Gary Yabsley as lead negotiator, culminated with ratification of a Final Agreement on April 9, 2009. The Maa-nulth Final Agreement was only the second treaty to be ratified through the BC Treaty Process and was the first multi-nation treaty. On April 1, 2011 the Maa-nulth Final Agreement, in recognition and affirmation of Maa-nulth’s inherent right to self-government, came into effect and since that date Brent Lehmann has been leading the team of Ratcliff lawyers assisting Maa-nulth in exercising and benefiting from their treaty rights.