First Nation Chiefs Confirm Support for New Approach to Resolving Specific Claims
OTTAWA, Dec. 12 – First Nations leaders from across the country, gathered at the Assembly of First Nations’ Special Chiefs Assembly in Ottawa, Ontario, adopted a resolution today calling for a fair, effective and efficient system to resolve First Nations’ specific land claims. The resolution is in relation to Bill C-30 (the Specific Claims Tribunal Act) and the companion Political Agreement jointly developed by the AFN and Canada and announced November 27, 2007. “Clearly, there is a desire by all First Nations to see a new approach in place as soon as possible. The resolution endorsed by Chiefs today supports moving forward on our work with Canada to establish a new way to resolve specific claims,” AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine said. “The resolution recognizes that First Nations have an active interest in a full review and discussion of the proposed legislation. And as such, the AFN will facilitate First Nations involvement in discussing the approach and in raising any further issues with the Parliamentary Committee. I also want to extend my thanks and gratitude to the Government of Canada and our First Nation leaders and experts who worked so hard to produce this new approach.”
The result of the joint process by AFN and Canada includes the legislation as well as a Political Agreement that provides an ongoing forum for Canada and First Nations to deal with outstanding issues not covered in the legislation. For example, the legislation focuses on claims up to $150 million. While this covers the vast majority of claims in Canada, a process to deal with claims over $150 million is a topic for further discussion.
B.C. Regional Chief and Co-Chair of the process Shawn A-in-chut Atleo stated: “The resolution calls for First Nations to be fully and meaningfully engaged in the outstanding issues recognized in the Political Agreement and the implementation of the legislation through to a statutory review in 5 years. The AFN welcomes input from across the country and recognizes how important this legislation and Agreement is to all First Nations and Canadians.”
Chiefs are looking forward to hearing from Indian Affairs’ Minister Chuck Strahl, who will address the Chiefs in Assembly tomorrow, Thursday, December 13 at 1:00 pm.
For further information: Joan McEwen, Director of Communications, (613) 241-6789 ext 242, cell: (613) 324-3329, email@example.com; Nancy Pine, Communications Advisor, Office of the National Chief, (613) 241-6789 ext 243, cell: (613) 298-6382, firstname.lastname@example.org; Josee Bellemare, Bilingual Communications Officer, (613) 241-6789 ext. 336, cell: (613) 327-6331, email@example.com