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FSIN Urges Action On Land Claim Implementation
For Immediate Release: September 21, 2012
FSIN URGES ACTION ON LAND CLAIM IMPLEMENTATION
(Saskatoon, SK) On September 25th, 2012, the entitlement First Nations and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians Nations (FSIN) will recognize the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty Land Entitlement Framework Agreement which remains Canada’s largest land claim settlement in any region of the country. The main purpose of the agreements is to satisfy outstanding legal obligations owed to the First Nations by the federal Crown – that is to set aside land reserved for the First Nations pursuant to Treaty.
“While we recognize that the 33 entitlement First Nations have accomplished a great deal these past 20 years,” stated Vice-Chief Bobby Cameron, “we are concerned that hundreds of thousands of land selections remain stuck at various stages of the reserve creation process. Consistent with our legacy of Treaty implementation and the direction of our Chiefs in Assembly, we will facilitate a results-oriented process to get these lands to reserve status.”
To date over 800,000 acres have achieved reserve status, but another 400,000 remain at various stages of the federal and provincial approval process. The Lands & Resources Secretariat of the FSIN is planning to bring federal and provincial officials together with the affected entitlement First Nations to review and implement measures to improve reserve creation results, starting with a report prepared in December, 2011. The conversion process is critical to the economic and social development goals of each of the entitlement First Nations.
“I believe the most important aspect of these agreements is that they provide an opportunity to entitlement First Nations to acquire lands which will allow them to develop economic opportunities; to create jobs; to provide lands for housing and to provide for other social needs for members of their communities.” stated Vice-Chief Bobby Cameron, “First Nations hold dearly to the belief that their relationship and connection to the land is essential to the health, well-being and future of their people. Some First Nations have purchased TLE lands where First Nations can exercise their rights to hunt, fish, trap, and gather – given the continual decrease of Crown land within the province on which Treaty hunters are allowed to hunt.”
Twenty years ago on September 22, 1992, at Wanuskewin, then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Saskatchewan Premier Roy Romanow along with 25 Chiefs with outstanding Treaty Land Entitlements signed an historic Framework that would provide $445 million to the Bands to acquire 1.5 million acres. If they met the criteria set out in the Framework, these land acquisitions would then be converted to reserves. Since 1992, another 8 First Nations signed similar agreements, bringing the value of the TLE settlement process to $595 million and 2 million acres.
“The economic status of the 33 First Nations has improved, dramatically for some, and we hope to celebrate these facts in the near future,” Vice-Chief Cameron added. “However, we cannot allow ourselves to be complacent since we still have some serious economic and social issues to overcome. These lands stuck in the system are vital to the First Nations goals.”
The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan. The Federation is committed to honouring the spirit and intent of Treaty, as well as the promotion, protection and implementation of the Treaty promises that were made more than a century ago.
For more information:
Mervin Brass, Executive Director of Communications
Email BlackBerry: firstname.lastname@example.org
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