A conference on Vancouver Island’s Douglas Treaties is a “good start” to making sure treaty rights are respected and recognized, says Snuneymuxw chief Douglas White.

The Pre-Confederation Treaties of Vancouver Island Conference opened Thursday, with more than 300 Canadian Aboriginal leaders, scholars and politicians converging on Nanaimo.

The two-day conference, hosted by the Snuneymuxw First Nation and Vancouver Island University, is aimed at triggering discussion about the 157-year-old Douglas Treaties and what they have come to mean for Vancouver Island.

First Nations leaders say they hope the in-depth conversations create greater political respect for the treaties and help people understand why the rights are fought for so fiercely…

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