May 19, 2024
B.C. Premier David Eby said the Haida title agreement is just a “template,” as he plans to give away more B.C. Crown land in the future.

Haida Gwaii, ethnostate?

Haida Gwaii is a misty, mossy, forested archipelago off the north coast of British Columbia, home to 4,500 people. Of the population, half belong to the Haida First Nation.

According to the 2021 census, the Haida language is the mother tongue of 45 people, and the language spoken most at home for 10 people.

On April 14, 2024, the B.C. NDP government signed an agreement (outside of the courts or treaty process) with the Council of the Haida Nation recognizing Haida Aboriginal title.

Provincial Crown land on Haida Gwaii is now Haida Aboriginal title lands, governed by the Haida Nation.

The agreement affirms that the Haida have an inherent right to the islands based on the fact that they were living there before European explorers and settlers arrived.

Until 2010, the archipelago was known as the Queen Charlotte Islands.

Louise Mandell, a lawyer who helped draft the agreement, said that over the next two years the Crown will gradually vacate “jurisdictional space” and Haida laws will govern Haida Gwaii.

But what exactly is “Haida law”?

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