Lands proposed for Te’mexw treaties

Tuesday, January 31, 2023 – The District of Sooke is sharing this release from the Province of British Columbia:

Sooke Mountain and Discovery Island Marine provincial parks are being considered for inclusion in treaties being negotiated with the T’Sou-ke and Songhees Nations.

T’Sou-ke, Songhees, Malahat, Beecher Bay (SC’IA􀍬NEW) and Snaw-Naw-As Nations joined together as Te’mexw Treaty Association (TTA), and have been in negotiations with Canada and British Columbia since 1995 under the B.C. treaty negotiations process. The parties are now another step closer to completing treaty negotiations.

Although these five First Nations of the TTA are negotiating together, the negotiations will result in five separate treaties. These treaties are intended to encourage investment, create jobs, expand economic development, and support social well-being for Te’mexw Treaty Nations and their neighbours.

Sooke Mountain Park, located in the Sooke Hills on southern Vancouver Island, is being considered as part of the T’Sou-ke Treaty. Discovery Island Park, located off the coast of Victoria, is being considered as part of the Songhees Treaty.

TTA and B.C. are committed to maintain public access and continued recreational opportunities in the parks, and are also committed to protecting their cultural, ecological and conservation values. These commitments will be reflected in the terms and conditions of the treaties.
Modern treaties are part of Canada’s and British Columbia’s work to advance reconciliation, guided by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action. Treaties provide a framework for
the three parties – Canada, B.C., and First Nations – to work toward the common goal of reconciliation, and build a new relationship through constitutionally protected government-to-government-to-government agreements.

The public is invited to a series of public open houses that will take place from late February until April to learn about the proposed treaties with the Malahat, Beecher Bay (SC’I􀀄􀍬NEW), Songhees, Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) and T’Sou-ke Nations. At these sessions, there will be further information about these park areas and other lands proposed to become Treaty Settlement Lands, as the parties move to the final stage of negotiations.

The treaty partners seek to share information about the treaties, answer questions from members of the public, and engage in dialogue about their efforts to foster long-term relationships.


Chief Ron Sam, Songhees Nation –
“Discovery Island, which our people have known as Tl’ches, is one of the last locations in our homelands that remains almost as it was 200 years ago. Many of our Nation’s generations have lived on this sacred island, and its rich surroundings reflect our peoples’ relationship to the land
and water.”

Chief Gordon Planes, T’Sou-ke Nation –
“Before contact, our people co-existed with Mother Nature by following the footsteps of our ancestors in enhancing our territory. This insured a good life for our future generations. From the first contact, we all took too much too fast, and now is the time to reverse that. Let’s work together to enhance our watersheds and food forest, we owe it to our children and our children who are not born yet, they are our most valued currency.”

Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –
“These treaties are intended to recognize the pre-existing rights and title of the five Te’mexw Member Nations and provide the basis for a revitalized relationship between Canada, B.C. and these First Nations. Treaties help everyone in B.C. by providing better clarity for First Nations and surrounding communities and will result in better social and economic opportunities for all communities in southern Vancouver Island.”

George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy –
“Sooke Mountain and Discovery Island Marine Provincial Park are culturally significant to both the T’Sou-ke and Songhees First Nations and were, at one time, at the heart of their traditional territory. These treaty negotiations recognize the cultural and social significance of these lands to Te’mexw Member Nations, and set us on a clear path to reconciliation while also continuing to uphold the ecological and conservation values of these special places, as well as continued recreational access for the general public.”

Quick Facts:

  • Te’mexw Treaty Association is a non-profit society formed of five Coast Salish Nations:
    • Beecher Bay (SC’IA/NEW)
    • Malahat
    • Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose)
    • Songhees
    • T’Sou-ke
  • The Te’mexw Member Nations joined to work together under one organization to negotiate five Nation-specific modern treaties with the federal and provincial governments through the BC Treaty process.
  • These agreements are subject to conclusion of the treaty negotiations, fulfilling consultation obligations with First Nations with overlapping territories and ratification by each First Nation, B.C. and Canada.

Learn More:

  • To find out more and sign up for treaty updates, visit:
  • To find out more about the Te’mexw Treaty Association, visit:
  • To find out more about the Beecher Bay (SC’IA/NEW) First Nation, visit:
  • To find out more about the Malahat Nation, visit:
  • To find out more about the Snaw-naw-as (Nanoose First Nation), visit:
  • To find out more about the Songhees Nation, visit:
  • To find out more about the T’Sou-ke Nation, visit:

Find out more about the proposed treaties with the Te’mexw Treaty Association

Negotiations between the Te’mexw Treaty Association (TTA), B.C. and Canada are coming to a close. Join TTA, B.C. and Canada at an open house to find out more and share input on the five proposed treaties.

Treaties are the embodiment of living relationships between First Nations, B.C. and Canada. They help support strong, healthy, thriving communities, benefit Indigenous Peoples and other residents of Canada, and set partners on a clear path to reconciliation.

The Te’mexw treaties are also intended to create jobs, promote investment and economic development, build housing, support tourism, and encourage investments in infrastructure, all of which will benefit the southern Vancouver Island region.

In-person open houses (drop-in, subject to public health regulations)

  • Saturday, Feb. 25, 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., Songhees Wellness Centre, 1100 Admirals Rd., Victoria
  • Thursday, March 2, 4:30-7 p.m., Edward Milne Community School, 6218 Sooke Rd., Sooke
  • Saturday, March 4, 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., Dogwood Auditorium, Royal Roads University, 2005 Sooke Rd., Colwood
  • Monday, March 6, 4:30-7 p.m., Nanoose Bay Community Centre, 2925 NW Bay Rd., Nanoose Bay
  • Tuesday, March 7, 4:30-7 p.m., George Jay Elementary, 1118 Princess Ave., Victoria
  • Saturday, March 11, 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., Shawnigan Lake Community Hall, 2804 Shawnigan Lake Rd., Shawnigan Lake
  • Wednesday, March 15, 4:30-7 p.m., Metchosin Community Hall, 4401 William Head Rd., Victoria

Virtual Open Houses (pre-registration required)

  • Wednesday, April 5, 2:30-4 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 13, 6-7:30 p.m.

Email for more information:

Sign up for treaty updates:


Celeste Haldane, chief commissioner, BC Treaty Commission –
“Modern treaties protect and promote First Nations rights, lands and resources, and advance reconciliation for all. Transferring these lands to the First Nations will provide economic opportunities that benefit the entire region for generations. We have witnessed that when a First Nation prospers the entire region prospers.

The BC Treaty Commission encourages everyone wanting to learn more about modern treaties, reconciliation, and the Te’mexw Treaty Association Nations to please come out to the upcoming open houses.”

Marianne Alto, mayor, Victoria –
“Discovery Island has been important to the Songhees people for millennia. I’m grateful for their stewardship and for their continued interest in ongoing public access for environmentally sensitive recreation that respects their traditions and protocols. Last March, the City of Victoria provided a formal letter of support recognizing Songhees’ Treaty Settlement Lands within city boundaries. The inclusion of Discovery Island in the Songhees Treaty is a significant step in the treaty process and in relations with First Nations governments. We support Songhees’ mission to negotiate return of their traditional lands in Lək􀹂ʷəŋən territory through Treaty. The city is unwavering in our commitment to working government-to-government with Songhees on our collective paths of reconciliation.”

Kevin Murdoch, mayor, District of Oak Bay –
“The upcoming modern treaties provide an unique and exciting opportunity to ensure First Nations control their own economic and cultural futures. I appreciate the Province and Te’mexw Treaty Association jointly creating this opportunity for the broader public to both learn and to provide input. It will be beneficial for all to hear how these regional sites, so central to Indigenous cultural history, are currently used and what they might look like in the future.”

Maja Tait, mayor, Sooke –
“The District of Sooke looks forward to the completion of treaty discussions with the T’Sou-ke Nation as we continue our work toward reconciliation with the original inhabitants of the land on which we live. We also look forward to the public open houses and sharing the information that comes forward with members of our communities.”

Colin Plant, board chairperson, Capital Regional District (CRD) –
“The CRD welcomes this announcement as a positive step toward reconciliation in action, and commits to ongoing collaboration as the Nations realize their vision for self-determination and reconciliation on their territories.”

Aaron Stone, chairperson, Cowichan Valley Regional District –
“We congratulate the Nations on this important progress toward reconciliation through these critical land agreements. We look forward to supporting Malahat Nation and all the Nations however we are able to through this process as they continue to grow their land holdings and strengthen economic opportunities for their people. We are committed to moving forward in a good way, supporting a brighter future for everyone in our region.”

Vanessa Craig, chairperson, Nanaimo Regional District –
We celebrate this significant step in the treaty process with the members of the Te’mexw Treaty Association. The Regional District of Nanaimo looks forward to embracing opportunities to support and partner with the Snaw-Naw-As Nation as it works toward self-determination, which will benefit the entire region.”