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K'ómoks First Nation one step closer to new treaty

K'omoks band councillor Stewart Hardy on Goose Spit in Comox, B.C. on July 6, 2010. The spit, which is used by the Navy and the sea cadets, is also claimed by the local native band.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail/John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

A small Indian band on the East Coast of Vancouver Island has taken a big step toward finalizing a treaty by voting to approve an agreement in principle with the federal and provincial governments.

Under the agreement, approved on the weekend by 74 per cent of band members, the K'ómoks First Nation will get ownership of more than 2,000 hectares of land and receive a cash payment of more than $17-million from Canada.

The vote was 101 to 35 in favour of accepting the agreement in principle, which Chief Ernie Hardy said will now lead to community consultations on the next steps needed to proceed to a final treaty.

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"The AIP is a major step towards a final treaty, a way for us to break free from the Indian Act," said Chief Hardy. "We want to be clear: this is not for our generation. It is for our young people - so they can flourish."

The agreement gives the K'ómoks, who are located in the Comox Valley, near Courtenay on Vancouver Island, ownership of all forest resources on treaty lands, as well as access to large cedars on provincial Crown lands for cultural purposes, such as building canoes, totem poles or longhouses.

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About the Author
National correspondent

Mark Hume is a National Correspondent for The Globe and Mail, based in Vancouver, writing news and feature stories on a daily basis about his home province of British Columbia. His weekly column, which often challenges the orthodoxy on environmental issues, appears every Monday. More

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