Yekooche First Nation
Negotiating status: Negotiating a treaty settlement within the British Columbia Treaty Commission six-stage treaty process.
Negotiating affiliation:Negotiating independently with Canada and British Columbia. Not affiliated with a tribal council or treaty group.
Location: Most band members living on reserve live on the Ye Koo Che Indian Reserve #3, on the south shore of Stuart Lake, approximately 50 km northwest of Fort St. James. (Four reserves on 379.8 hectares.)
Number of Band Members: 214 (Source: Registered Indian Population by Sex and Residence March 2008, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada)
Yekooche was accepted into the British Columbia Treaty Commission (BCTC) process on November 16, 1995 and is now in Stage 5 of the six-stage process, negotiating a final agreement.
In June 2000, under the new leadership of its first elected Chief and Council, Yekooche began discussions on draft Agreement-in-Principle (AIP) chapters. Intensive negotiations on AIP chapters began in October 2003, as Yekooche’s Chief and Council moved into their third consecutive term.
The Yekooche First Nation AIP was approved by Yekooche in a community vote on March 23, 2005, by BC’s Cabinet on March 29, 2005, and by the federal Cabinet on June 23, 2005.
A ceremony was held at the Yekooche Reserve on August 22, 2005, where the AIP was officially signed by the Yekooche First Nation Chief, the provincial Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, and the federal Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, on behalf of their governments.
The proposed treaty lands encompass an area of 5,960 hectares (14,727.47 acres) of Provincial Crown land and 379.8 hectares (938.51 acres) of existing Indian Reserves within the core area of the Yekooche Statement of Intent area (SOI). The offer also includes a capital transfer of $6.5 million (2005$).
In July 2007, Yekooche First Nation, along with other area First Nations, collaborated with the Province in the signing of the Land and Resource Management Plan for the Morice planning area. The Morice LRMP is a result of the Province's collaborative partnerships with the Yekooche, Office of the Wet'suwet'en, Lake Babine Nation, and Nedo'ats Hereditary Chiefs, as well as industry and local communities.
In March 2008, The Ministry of Aboriginal Relations provided $24,000 to fund upgrades at the Yekooche Learning Centre, an ongoing partnership between Royal Roads University and the Yekooche First Nation. Established in 2006, the Yekooche Learning Centre assists members to upgrade education and employment skills. At the same time, managing the centre imparts equally valuable skills in administration, leadership, and governance-skills that will be critical to Yekooche's success in a post-treaty future.