Kitkatla Blockade Negotiation

Kitkatla Town Site on Dolphin Island, Northwest Coast of British Columbia
Kitkatla = Gitxaała (Indigenous Spelling)

A.     Project Schedule

B.     Client List

Client Names Involved in the Negotiations


The Kitkatla First Nation (the Indigenous group that claims the land in dispute as their traditional territory)

Hutchinson Logging Ltd. (the private company that purchased the licence to harvest the trees on the land in dispute)
British Columbia Ministry of Forests (i.e., the Provincial Crown who hold title over the land)
The Government of Canada (i.e., the Federal Crown who are responsible for Indigenous Peoples and lands reserved for Indigenous Peoples)

  • The Forest Stewardship Council (Website) NOT participating in Quad 1 negotiations.

C.     Project Materials







Aboriginal Law Readings (remember that you have already completed the ground work on both Delgamuukw and Tsilhqot'in)

Project Evaluation

Topographic Maps of Traditional Kitkatla Territory

MAP a)
MAP b)
MAP c)
MAP d)

Supporting Materials

D.     Workshops

WORKSHOP 1 Timeline & Duty to Consult

Pay particular attention to the following DOCUMENTS in the Negotiation File when building your timeline.

WORKSHOP 2 → Forest Law
READ ONLY the following sections →
A. Acts & Regulations p.2
B. Finding Timber pp. 2 to 3
C. The Right to Harvest pp. 3 to 4
E. Right to Harvest → The Forest Stewardship Plan p. 5 / Site Plans p. 6 / Cutting Permits p. 6 / Road Permits p. 6
APPENDIX 1 → Glossary Terms →
                           Allowable Annual Cut p. 34
                           Critical Wildlife Habitat p. 34
                           Cutting Permit p. 35
                           Discretionary Authority p. 35
                           Economically Operable p. 35
                           Forest Licence p. 35
                           Impact Assessment p. 36
                           Stumpage Rate p. 37
                           Timber Supply Area (TSA) p. 37
VIEW     BC Forests MAP

WORKSHOP 3 → Tsimshian Law

Tsimshian Gitxaala Backgrounder

(In particular sections 2.1 The Tsimshian and Other Northwest Coast Nations, 2.2 The Tsimshian, 2.3 The Tsimshian and their Territories, 2.4 The Adawx, Northwest Coast Nations and the Tsimshian, 2.5 Adawx in this Context) (In particular section 10 Gitkxaala Territories - Banks Island & 10.4 Banks Island East Side)

WORKSHOP 4 → Duties Owed by the Federal & Provincial Governments

Sparrow Case (see Aboriginal Law Package under Project Materials)

Kitkatla Band v. British Columbia Minister of SB, T, and C  
(this is the outcome of the real case as negotiations failed)

Balancing Aboriginal Claims and Economic Interests

→ Provincial law may legitimately strike a balance "between the need and desire to preserve aboriginal heritage with the need and desire to promote the exploitation of B.C.'s natural resources".


→ Aboriginal groups must establish claims of aboriginal rights or title on a balance of probabilities, by persuasive evidence.

→ Kitkatla Band claimed aboriginal rights in the area and had been engaged in treaty negotiations with the province.

→ Interfor was concerned with the presence of native heritage sites and objects including culturally modified trees (CMTs) in the harvest area.

→ The BC Heritage Conservation Act authorizes the cutting and processing of CMTs during logging operations.  The Band asserted a claim of aboriginal rights in the continued existence of the CMTs and applied for a court order to restrain the Minister from granting the site alteration permit (argued unconstitutional).

→ MAIN ISSUE in case = whether a claim of aboriginal rights to a forest resource ousts the jurisdiction of the province over the natural resources of the province.

→ The Kitkatla argument was based in the assertion that provincial law infringed on the federal power to legislate in respect of "Indians".

→ Kitkatla argued that the importance of the CMTs goes to the core of their values & identity.

→ The Court found that there was little evidence that permitting the destruction of aboriginal heritage objects (CMTs) impairs the status or capacity of Indians (i.e., cuts to the core of Indianness and thus a federal power).

→ "little evidence has been offered by the Kitkatla with respect to the relationship between the CMTs and Kitkatla culture in this area." (at para. 70)

LINK to full case.