Nisga'a Nation

By Emma Posluns

With information from Mansell Griffin, Lands Manager

The Nisga’a Nation is located in northwestern British Columbia, an hour and a half northwest of Terrace. Their communities include NewAiyansh, Gitwinksihlkw, Laxgalts’ap and Gingolx. The offices of Nisga’a Lisims Government are located in New Aiyansh. The Nass Area and Nass Wildlife Area are the geographic extents of the Nisga’a Nation’s Treatyrights to management and harvesting of fish and wildlife.
The Lands Manager for Nisga’a Lisims Government receives many Crown Land Referrals for mining projects and some for land development inside and outside of Nisga’a Lands. The number of referrals that come in each month can be anywhere between zero and forty. As there is not a specified staff member to handle referrals, they go to the Lands Manager first. He starts a file for the project and then passes it on to various other managers for review. This consultation period takes a lot of time and energy and often the Lands Manager has to track down responses to the proposed activity. The last step of the process is creating a single draft letter, which is given to the CEO of the Nation who makes the final decision. The entire process is funded internally.

As the referral process is funded by the Nisga’a Nation, it is important to receive the background information for the project with the initial proposal to save time and money. For example, if a proponent wishes to develop land within the Nass Area, they should anticipate the Nisga’a Nation’s need for information on environmental impacts to salmon habitat. If the proponent could provide such information at the very beginning of the process, then the Nisga’a could spend less time tracking down information and respond to referrals more efficiently.