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Aboriginal Governments and the Government of the Northwest Territories Reach Agreement on Devolution and Resource Revenue Sharing

by NationTalk on May 9, 20071237 Views

YELLOWKNIFE (May 9, 2007) – Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the Gwich’in Tribal Council, the Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated, the Northwest Territory Métis Nation and the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) have reached agreement on a Resource Revenue Sharing Agreement-in-Principle (RRS AIP) and a devolution Agreement in Principle (Devolution AIP). The Devolution AIP has been forwarded to the Government of Canada with a recommendation for the federal government to adopt it as a basis for completing the current stage of the negotiations and seeking a mandate for a final agreement.The Devolution AIP contains the following key features and proposals:

– It transfers the administration and control of federal crown lands and natural resources to the Northwest Territories (NWT).

– It protects against the abrogation and derogation of Aboriginal rights.

– It includes a framework for the much needed review and reform of current federal lands and resource management systems while providing for the cooperative and coordinated governance of lands and resources among the GNWT and Aboriginal governments.

– It provides for fair treatment of the NWT with respect to lands and resource revenues and for the sharing of these revenues among NWT governments; and,

– It provides for a reasonable and adequate transfer of one-time and on-going funds for the management and administration of NWT lands and resources.

The RRS AIP is a separate agreement amongst NWT governments that describes the basis and principles for sharing resource revenues that will remain in the NWT and does not require the approval of the federal government.

Premier Joe Handley said, “I am very pleased we have reached agreement with the Aboriginal governments on these key components of the process. These AIPs give us a foundation from which to move forward and secure devolution and resource revenue sharing without delay. I want to thank the aboriginal groups who have shown foresight and leadership in making this happen.

At the same time, I want to make it clear that these are inclusive agreements that provide for the addition of the NWT’s remaining Aboriginal governments at such time as they are ready to participate.”

“As governments of the NWT we must be united in order to get one step closer to making devolution and resource revenue sharing a reality so that together we can get the best deal for all northerners,” said Fred Carmichael, President of the Gwichin Tribal Council.

“These two agreements-in-principle culminate many years of effort by northern governments to take control over their land and resources and the revenues generated from them”, said Nellie Cournoyea, Chair and CEO, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation. “The AiP’s provide a collective northern approach to Devolution and guide future relationships and revenue sharing arrangements between Aboriginal governments and the GNWT. Key issues to be resolved in the months ahead will include the sharing of resource revenues with the federal government and ensuring that land and resources are managed in a manner consistent with land claim agreements. Inuvialuit Regional Corporation will continue to be an active participant throughout the discussions and negotiations that lead up to a Final Devolution Agreement.”

Vern Jones, President of the Northwest Territory Métis Nation, stated, “We are pleased at the progress that has been achieved by the Aboriginal Governments and the Government of the Northwest Territories. This will enable NWT governments to move ahead and have greater control over their respective governance, lands and resources.”

“The Sahtu Leadership fully support any initiative that ensures our communities see improved benefits from development and we see this agreement as a very positive step forward”, commented Larry Tourangeau, President of the Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated. “In reaching this agreement, the Sahtu Leadership have committed to proceed in advancing devolution and resource royalty sharing negotiations with the Federal Government in a manner that benefits all Sahtu, and NWT communities”.

The GNWT and the Aboriginal signatories recognize the importance of a timely response from the Government of Canada. This would support the finalization of a Devolution AIP in time for ratification by both the Aboriginal governments at their summer assemblies and by the GNWT and the Government of Canada prior to any election call (the GNWT election will occur this fall).

For more information contact:

Bob Simpson
Inuvialuit Regional Corporation

Tom Williams
Gwich’in Tribal Council

Earl Jacobson
Northwest Territory Métis Nation

Freda Taniton
Sahtu Secretariat Inc.

Bob McLeod
Government of the Northwest Territories

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