It's been a monumental couple of day as two local First Nations initialled treaties. 

It's only the start of at least a 4-year process that will include a community vote before they are ratified and become effective. 

Nonetheless, it was a time of celebration for the Nations that have worked hard for 30 years, negotiating with government to get to this step. 

First to initial their documents was the Kitselas First Nation on Monday, June 26th. 

The event started with welcomes moderated by Councillor Cyril Bennett-Nabess as many gathered to witness the initialling of the modern treaty, whose negotiations first began in 1995. 

Kitselas First Nation Chief Glenn Bennett explained the procedure for the crowd; 

"The process of gathering for this historic occasion is to ratify and formally sign off on this treaty between Kitselas and the Canadian Federal Government and the provincial government for Kitselas, that provides legal recognition and retention of lands, resources and monetary compensation."

And pointed out the opportunity that comes with treaty;

"To be specific, economic growth in the private sector that creates wealth both to individuals as well as to the government of the nation. We have identified through this treaty some resources that may be developed, whether it be in the forest industry, the mining industry, through our water resources, fisheries, etc., to achieve self-reliance. Now it will be up to us to identify how to engage in the business market to do this."

Many elected officials were in attendance. Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation of British Columbia Murray Rankin emphasized the differences in the modern treaty process;

"It's a major step. It's a made in B.C. treaty process. We should be proud of the work that we have got to do and are doing. We've made some big changes to the treaty process, which gives me the hope, as I said, that we'll see more of modern treaties in the years to come. In 2019, we, a Federal, Provincial and First Nations Summit, created the Recognition and Reconciliation of Rights Policy- a mouthful.We just call it the triple R.

Our policy changed a lot of things about modern treaty making, and of course, our government was the first government in North America to introduce and implement the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, which has had another significant change to the way we work together and I think we have, we have in front of us, if we do get this treaty ratified, as I say, a fundamental change in how we do business."

The treaty was initialled by all parties, and will now move to the Ratification process and community vote. 

Next it was time for the Kitsumkalum First Nation to inital their treaty. 

Since the beginning, Kitselas First Nation and Kitsumkalum First Nation have been negotiating their two treaties together, which will result in two distinct, separate treaties. 

The BC Government says this ability to work together demonstrates the close family ties and collaborative spirit of the two nations. 

First Nations, Community Members, and elected officials came together at the Kitsumkalum community hall this morning for the initialling of their Treaty. TFN Chief Negotiator Gerald Wesley addressed the crowd and explained the intentions behind the process; 

"The constraints of the Indian Act system hurt us and hindered us. We needed more land, our historic lands. We needed more authority to look after affairs ourselves. We needed greater influence over the area as a whole, and we needed the best for our people. We wanted better to improve health, education, economic opportunities, housing, better infrastructure. Those were some of the goals that Kalum, our members, our elders or youth have expressed over the over the past couple of decades that I've been involved. "

Wesley did recognize that the process was not cut-and-dried;

"Still, I know for a fact not everybody from Kitsumkalum is happy with the fact that we proceeded down this path. But we're finding the way to make the path as accommodating as possible for everybody."

Notably, a woman with a flag that read "No Pride in Genocide" briefly and silently waved her flag next to the proceedings. 

Wesley went on to emphasize co-evolution;

"So what would we say about relationships? You've got to co-exist. You've got to live together, whether it's a relationship, a family relationship of communities, in this case relationship of governments"

And addressed the significance of the day;

"This is a special and a historic day for Kitsumkalum. There's no doubt of that. It's not the historic day, but it's one of the ones that will go down in our in our history books and our ledgers as to what happened on June 25th. Well, here's one of the things you can talk about in our hopefully are our grandchildren and great grandchildren down the road will be able to flip some pages and they'll see some of the steps and some of the efforts that have been taken."

The treaty was initialled, and so begins the ratification process. If the process is successful, Kitselas and Kitsumkalum will join eight other Nations as the only treaty holders in British Columbia.