The Council of the Haida Nation was formed in 1974
by a handful of people with a vision to organize Haida
people into one political entity. Part of the vision was
a clear mandate to settle land claims.
BE IT RESOLVED THAT this Convention direct
the Executives in the formulation of a proposal
for negotiating a land settlement, the Executive
seek the formalization and retention of aboriginal
title rather than the surrender of their aboriginal
From the minutes of the Council of the Haida Nation,
Executive Meeting Saturday, December 7, 1974
Shortly after the inaugural meeting a delegation
set out for Ottawa to secure funds for research
and claims development.
From those beginnings, and over the past 30 years the CHN has been
addressing the land question and has become a National government
enacting legislation and policy affecting many aspects of life on Haida
Gwaii. The consolidation of the CHN as a national government has
worked hand-in-hand with collective action that Haida have taken to
protect culture and ensure that our way of living continues.
Some of the more publicized campaigns were Athlii Gwaay (Lyell Island)
which laid the ground work for the Gwaii Haanas Agreement; the Langara
Island action was about protecting salmon stocks to ensure that salmon
would continue to run from Alaska in the United States to the Fraser River
in British Columbia.
In 2005, the CHN participated with most people living on Haida Gwaii
in Islands Spirit Rising. This all-Island shared initiative raised awareness
around the lack of respect being given the Supreme Court of Canada,
TFL 39 Case decision. In part, the decision said that the government
of British Columbia must consult and accommodate when making
decisions that affect First Nations. In the face of this, the local
Ministry of Forest office started approving cut blocks that started
to reduce options for the Land Use Planning Table by logging areas
under consideration. People said Enough is Enough and took a stand.
From this joint, all-Island position some very positive negotiations with
the Province of BC have taken place including the protection of significant
cultural areas for future generations. (see map)
Throughout our history the CHN has negotiated and signed agreements
with other Coastal First Nations, Non-Governmental Organizations and
local communities and we continue to work on agreements with both
the federal and provincial governments.
The Constitution of the Haida Nation was formally adopted in 2003.
The constitution mandates the CHN to settle the issue of Title and
Rights and ensure that the Haida relationship with land continues