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Snuneymuxw First Nation and Canada sign historic land reconciliation agreement

Press Release

From: Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Today, Chief Michael Wyse of the Snuneymuxw First Nation and the Honourable Gary Anandasangaree, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, celebrated the signing of a historic Interim Land Reconciliation Agreement, that will allocate 80.09 hectares of land (the “Camp Nanaimo Lands on Te’tuxwtun”) to be set aside as a reserve for the Snuneymuxw First Nation.

The “Camp Nanaimo Lands on Te’tuxwtun”, which is part of Snuneymuxw First Nation’s traditional territories, was used by Western Forest Products, the Department of National Defence, and as the location of the horrific Nanaimo Indian Hospital. Following this agreement, these lands will be remediated and rightfully returned to the Snuneymuxw People through the additions to the reserve process.

Snuneymuxw Chief and Council have progressive development plans for these lands, which will have great benefits for Snuneymyxw, the city of Nanaimo, and Vancouver Island University. This includes on-reserve housing, economic development, infrastructure upgrades and sustainable forestry projects, which all operate within the broader, interconnected Snuneymuxw territory.

Canada embraces the goal of advancing this enduring Snuneymuxw vision, deepening its commitment to the ongoing collaborative process of reconciliation. This interim land reconciliation agreement is a tangible result of ongoing negotiations and an example of how Canada is working in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to deliver results.


“In 2003, the government at the time identified the ‘Camp Nanaimo Lands on Te’tuxwtun’ for Snuneymuxw. We’ve been negotiating over this piece of land ever since. We fought for an agreement that accurately responds to the legal authority of our Snuneymuxw Saarlequun Treaty of 1854. We fought for a resolution that did not require the Nation to give up rights. Today, we celebrate reaching an agreement that honours our people and our pre-confederation treaty, the strongest agreement available to Canada.

In 2009, my late mother, Chief Viola Wyse, was at the negotiating table alongside Counsellor William Yoachim and the late Dave Mannix. The government at that time was firm in its position: the former DND lands would never become additions to reserve land. Today, Snuneymuxw Council is honoured to finalize these additions to reserve land as a tribute to our Ancestors and as a commitment to serving our future generations. The path of reconciliation we are walking alongside Crown-Indigenous Relations has proven to be a positive way forward for our people and all connected to this sacred territory. Today is a profound step in a journey that will continue to see more milestones like this one. This is our legacy and our responsibility.”

Chief Mike Wyse
Snuneymuxw First Nation

“It is great to be in the community today, where we are celebrating the next step in returning these lands to Snuneymuxw First Nation. The return of the ‘Camp Nanaimo Lands on Te’tuxwtun’ has been a long and frustrating process, and we’re here today because of the tireless advocacy of generations of Snuneymuxw people. I am committed to being a partner in supporting Snuneymuxw’s vision of building a better future for the community and beyond.”

The Honourable Gary Anandasangaree
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Quick facts

  • The Snuneymuxw First Nation is a large Coast Salish, hul’q’umi’num-speaking Nation with traditional territory and marine areas in the mid-Vancouver Island, Nanaimo estuary, Gulf Islands and lower Fraser areas of British Columbia.
  • Snuneymuxw First Nation, as successors of the Saarlequun Tribe, entered into a Treaty with Sir James Douglas in 1854, which the Supreme Court of Canada has recognized as a valid and binding Treaty between the Nation and the Crown.
  • Often referred to as a trade and commerce treaty, the Saarlequun Snuneymuxw Treaty of 1854 is protected under Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  • Snuneymuxw has over 1,900 members and six reserves covering 266 hectares, and their land base is a small fraction of their traditional territories and marine areas. The Nation is pursuing a series of specific land claims, which have been accepted for negotiation or require resolution to advance meaningful reconciliation.

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Andrew Sutherland
Communications Manager
Snuneymuxw First Nation

Matthieu Perrotin
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Gary Anandasangaree
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

CIRNAC Media Relations:


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