The Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw Nations Treaty Process was established to uphold the rights, title and laws through a negotiated agreement with Canada and British Columbia through the BC Treaty Commission Process.


Our ties to the homelands are fundamental to our existence as peoples.


Where we are in the treaty process


Latest Treaty News and Updates

Why Treaty

The treaty negotiations process provides a framework for the three parties: Canada, BC and First Nations – to work towards the common goal of reconciliation, and building a new relationship, through constitutionally entrenched government-to-government-to-government understandings. Some of the major components integral to modern treaty making in British Columbia are:

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Aboriginal Rights

First Nations have for thousands of years sustained vibrant and rich cultural identities profoundly linked to BC’s land and waters.

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Self-determination is a core principal of self-government, the BC treaty negotiations process and is also reflected the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

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Land and Resources

Land has spiritual, economic and political significance for First Nations peoples. First Nations traditional territory—land occupied and used historically—is integral to their identity.

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Financial Autonomy

Treaties will bring certainty to land ownership and jurisdiction, funding and new investment. Through treaties, First Nations will be able to provide services appropriate to the unique culture.

Want to learn more about Treaty but don’t know where to start?

Our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) booklet is the first in a series of four booklets prepared by the Gwa’sala-Nakwaxda’xw Nations’ Treaty Support Team. The booklet will answer questions regarding status, Aboriginal title, taxes, healthcare and self-government and many other questions that have been raised at Treaty meetings. 

Our Overview Booklet is the second in a series of four booklets produced by the Gwa’sala-Nakwaxda’xw Nations Treaty Support Team. This booklet provides information on the past, present and future of the Nations. It covers topics including governance, administration, economic development, and the Gwa’sala-Nakwaxda’xw Nations entry into the BC Treaty Process in 1993. 

The third booklet in the series of booklets produced by the Treaty Support Team is Gwa’sala-Nakwaxda’xw Nations: Our History. The booklet gives a glimpse into the early times and Gwa’sala and ‘Nakwaxda’xw Villages. It also discusses the challenges of colonization and the growing interest in the future of returning to the Homelands.

The final booklet in this series is the Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Nations: Pathway to Self-Governance booklet. The booklet discusses the meaning of self-governance and the different options we have to achieve it so that we can continue to build and reclaim our future based on Nusens Sax – ‘our ways’. The chart at the end of the booklet highlights the strengths and shortfalls of each of the options listed.



The Treaty STAGES

The six-stage treaty process is set out in the BC Claims Task Force Report of 1991 and incorporated in the tripartite British Columbia Treaty Commission Agreement of 1992. The process is voluntary and open to all First Nations in British Columbia.


Statement of Intent to Negotiate

A First Nation files with the Treaty Commission a statement of intent (SOI) to negotiate a treaty with Canada and BC.


Readiness To Negotiate

The Treaty Commission must convene an initial meeting of the three parties within 45 days of accepting a statement of intent.


Negotiation of a Framework Agreement

The framework agreement is, in effect, the “table of contents” of a comprehensive treaty.


Negotiation of An Agreement In Principle

This is where substantive treaty negotiations begin. The parties examine in detail the elements outlined in their framework agreement.


Negotiation to Finalize a Treaty

The treaty formalizes the new relationship among the parties and embodies the agreements reached in the agreement in principle.


Implementation of the Treaty

Long-term implementation plans need to be tailored to specific agreements. The plans to implement the treaty are put into effect or phased in as agreed.

What we've accomplished is just the beginning


Our negotiations team continues to move toward and agreement that both benefits the nations current and future members.

Our Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations ancestors assert ownership to territories we were placed on by the Creator, U’mas Gigama. We have used, occupied and governed our traditional territories from the beginning. Despite a removal from our homelands in Smith Inlet, Seymour Inlet, and outlying Islands, by the federal government, we maintain our connections which are centred on the mountains, inlets, lands, waters and resources in our territories. Today we assert our Aboriginal Rights and Title over our entire territories. We, the GNN have traditional laws and teachings, “Nusəns sax gwigilas” as passed on for generations by ancestors and Elders and we have a responsibility to follow our laws and traditions of mayaxala and to take care of the lands, waters and resources in the territories. The GNN have the inherent right to self-government including right to continue our system of hereditary Chiefs and the pesa (potlatch). The GNN Treaty Process was established to uphold the rights, title and laws through a negotiated agreement with the Canada and BC through the BCTC Process.
The Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations Treaty Office was mandated by the Chief and Council in 1993 to commence treaty negotiations under the newly formed BCTC process. The six stage negotiation process requires community consultation to continue through each step. In 2000, through the Framework agreement, stage 3, the GNN was duly convened according to meeting protocols and transparency guidelines as set out and a quorum of assembled members at the Wakas Hall voted to continue with the future stages to achieve a negotiated agreement with Canada and BC. We are in the final stages of Stage 4, Agreement in Principle.


Our Treaty Team is responsible for guiding the Nations through the six stages of treaty negotiation.

Terry Walkus


Willie Walkus

Hereditary Chief

Tom Henderson

Hereditary Chief

Henry Seaweed

Hereditary Chief

Eddie Charlie


Sandra Charlie


Thomas Jack


Paddy Walkus​

Crystal Walkus



Colleen Hemphill

Chief Negotiator

Murray Browne

Legal and Negotiations Advisor

David Scott


Linda Dorricott

Research Support

Sharlene Frank

Policy Support

Jane McCall Woods

Negotiations Support

Linda Paul

 Meeting/Event Logistics Support

Contact Us


Phone: 250-949-8343 | Cell: 250-949-1485 | Fax: 250-949-7402


Box 110, Port Hardy, B.C.V0N 2P0