By Bob Barnett Despite an announcement this week about efforts to fast-track treaty negotiations, the First Nation that may be furthest along in the treaty negotiation process has extended its self-imposed deadline for an agreement in principle. Colette Hogue, treaty analyst with the In-SHUCK-ch N’Quat’qua, said the deadline has been extended from Nov. 23, 1998 to May, 1999. "We’re progressing very, very well but there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done," Hogue said this week. "The date for an agreement in principle was changed about a month ago, to be more realistic." And Hogue suggested newspaper reports this week that fast-tracking could bring a resolution to up to half of the treaty negotiations by this fall was off base. Principal federal, provincial and First Nations negotiators are now meeting to discuss fast-tracking the treaty process and may have outlined the criteria for fast-tracking by this fall. They will then approach the First Nations in the treaty process about whether they want to be "fast-tracked." But Hogue said: "The fast-track criteria will be moot for us — we’ll already be further along by then." The In-SHUCK-ch were the first native community to file a statement of intent when the B.C. Treaty Commission opened its doors in late 1993. In 1996, when the In-SHUCK-ch and N’Quat’qua initialed a framework agreement with the federal and provincial governments, they set a deadline of Nov. 23, 1998 to reach an agreement in principle. The complexity of the negotiations prompted the recent deadline extension, but even with the revised target date the In-SHUCK-ch N’Quat’qua are believed to be closer to an agreement in principle than any other First Nation involved in the treaty negotiation process. The In-SHUCK-ch N’Quat’qua have been steadfast in their commitment to the treaty process from the beginning. In February 1997 negotiations seemed to be stalled as the federal and provincial governments were negotiating on an issue-by-issue basis. It was the In-SHUCK-ch N’Quat’qua who proposed that negotiations be divided into three broad issues: governance, land and resources and financial transfers. The In-SHUCK-ch N’Quat’qua presented position papers on those three issues last year, which helped re-energize negotiations. The In-SHUCK-ch N’Quat’qua have also drawn praise from federal and provincial negotiators for their inclusion of third parties in the treaty process. While the In-SHUCK-ch N’Quat’qua remain committed to the treaty negotiations, uncertainty with the province’s position and this week’s federal proposal to fast-track negotiations has concerned some other First Nations. The Ts’kw’aylaxw (Pavilion) recently expressed their frustration with the process by writing a letter hinting at the possibility of road blockades this summer. The In-SHUCK-ch claim as their traditional territory those lands generally drained by Lillooet Lake (roughly from its mid-point southward), the Lillooet River between Lillooet Lake and Harrison Lake, Harrison Lake (roughly from the mid-point northward) and all rivers or streams flowing into Lillooet Lake, Lillooet River and Harrison Lake. N’Quat’qua traditional territory includes the Bendor Range and the Cadwallader Range from Gold Bridge southeast to Anderson Lake (roughly from its mid-point southward), from Anderson Lake southeast to Cayoosh Creek, southwest along Cayoosh Creek to Joffre Creek and northwest along the Birkenhead River to the Hurley River. While the In-SHUCK-ch and N’Quat’qua were required to outline their traditional territory at the time they entered the treaty process, specific land "claims" have yet to be identified in treaty negotiations. There is considerable overlap of In-SHUCK-ch N’Quat’qua traditional lands with the traditional lands of the Lil’wat and Interior First Nations. At the most recent round table negotiating session In-SHUCK-ch N’Quat’qua proposed some sort of joint title to overlapping lands, with lawyer Bob Reiter suggesting that last December’s Supreme Court Delgamuukw decision allows for overlaps.