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For Immediate Release
July 28, 2022

BC Ferries and Snuneymuxw First Nation Enter into Relationship Agreement

(Snuneymuxw Territory, B.C.) - BC Ferries and Snuneymuxw First Nation have entered into a relationship protocol agreement to guide their work together going forward. The agreement is the first step in building a strong partnership between the two parties built on mutual respect, recognition, mutual benefit and cooperation. 

The agreement is based on a recognition of Snuneymuxw's rights under the Snuneymuxw Treaty of 1854 that protects and preserves Snuneymuxw lands and waters, and enables trade and commerce in their territory. The agreement also affirms the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as the framework for reconciliation between the two parties. 

There are four BC Ferry terminals currently operating in Snuneymuxw territory, and the document outlines shared goals, including the following initial topics for discussion: 
  • Cumulative impacts of ferry operations in Snuneymuxw villages, employment and economic opportunities, land and marine stewardship, and inclusion of Snuneymuxw culture and Sna'wayalth
  • The process for engaging Snuneymuxw in specific projects with the objective of gaining the Nation’s free, prior, and informed consent
  • Establishing the process for a collaborative, transparent and respectful long-term relationship between BC Ferries and Snuneymuxw 

The new relationship agreement represents a commitment to building a shared path forward, while recognizing the need to acknowledge and address past injustices. The agreement lays the foundation for creating new opportunities that champion Snuneymuxw knowledge and marine expertise.

"Snuneymuxw People remember the day when the vessels first bumped into Stlilup – Departure Bay over 200 years ago" said Acting Chief Sqwulutsultun William (Bill) Yoachim, Snuneymuxw First Nation.  "After generations of persistent action, our Nation and BC Ferries are forging a common pathway going forward with a shared understanding on the range of issues that are important.  We look forward to continuing discussions with BC Ferries that will bring immediate and long-term resolve, building a rewarding partnership that benefits generations to come."
"This protocol lays the foundation for a lasting partnership between BC Ferries and Snuneymuxw First Nation," said Jill Sharland, Interim CEO of BC Ferries. "We are committed to building respectful relationships with Indigenous Nations and are grateful to Snuneymuxw First Nation for their continued commitment to work with us on the areas of shared interest."
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Media Contacts:

Snuneymuxw First Nation
Andrew Sutherland, Communications Manager

BC Ferries, Media Relations
Victoria: (250) 978-1267

Customer Contact:
Victoria: (250) 410-1465
Toll-free: 1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779)

Note to newsrooms: For urgent media inquiries off-hours, call our off-hours line at (250) 516-7211.
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