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Landmark Government-to-Government Accord On East Side Of Lake Winnipeg Signed Between Province Of Manitoba And First Nations

by NationTalk on April 4, 2007727 Views

April 3, 2007
– – –
First of its Kind in Canada: Phil Fontaine, WNO Chair

A landmark accord signed today confirms a government-to-government relationship between the Wabanong Nakaygum Okimawin (WNO) First Nation governments and the Government of Manitoba and reinforces the foundation for the most comprehensive traditional land-use planning in this country, Premier Gary Doer has announced.

“This historic agreement confirms the commitment of this government and First Nations people in Manitoba to develop a shared vision for the east side of Lake Winnipeg,” said Doer. “Today’s signing of this accord signifies how Manitoba and east side First Nations are taking a leading role in Canada to work together for land and resource development that respects the value of the environment and boreal forest, and needs of the local communities.”The goal of WNO is to develop a broad area plan for the east side of Lake Winnipeg. The next critical step in the process is traditional land-use planning. The province recently announced a five-year transfer agreement for $2.5 million which First Nations on the east side will use for traditional land-use planning. The accord outlines the guidelines the province and First Nations have agreed to use while working together.

“With this, sustainable development within First Nations’ territories can become a reality. We will leave behind the destructive legacy of poverty while we protect our rights and the environment,” said Phil Fontaine, chair of WNO. “First Nation governments will be partners in determining the future uses of the lands and waters on the east side of Lake Winnipeg. This is how we implement our rights while building sustainable, thriving communities for our children.”

“We want to protect the environment and land, and ensure a safe, strong and prosperous future for all our families and communities,” said Doer. “This accord gives First Nations governments and our government a firm foundation to work from so that together we can help make this happen.”

Guidelines the province and First Nations agreed to include the following highlights:
using the Wabanong Nakaygum Okimawin accord to serve as a foundation to ensure the First Nations within the east side are involved in decisions that will affect their communities and traditional territories;
working together in a spirit of mutual recognition, respect and reconciliation to achieve the objectives and goals of the East Side Broad Area Land Use Planning Initiative; and
utilizing land-use planning and promotion of sustainable economic development that will benefit local communities will be the guiding principles of decision-making.
The traditional land planning area is within the areas of Treaty 1, Treaty 3 and Treaty 5; therefore the province is bound by the terms of those treaties and principles of treaty interpretation as enunciated by the courts. Manitoba recognizes that it has a duty to consult in a meaningful way with the First Nations peoples any future developments in the east side planning area, the premier said.

The accord is an agreement to a set of principles and guidelines the province and First Nations on the east side of Lake Winnipeg will work from and went into effect upon its signing.

- 30 -

The goal of WNO is to develop a broad area plan for the east side of Lake Winnipeg. The next critical step in the process is traditional land-use planning. The province recently announced a five-year transfer agreement for $2.5 million which First Nations on the east side will use for traditional land-use planning. The accord outlines the guidelines the province and First Nations have agreed to use while working together.

“With this, sustainable development within First Nations’ territories can become a reality. We will leave behind the destructive legacy of poverty while we protect our rights and the environment,” said Phil Fontaine, chair of WNO. “First Nation governments will be partners in determining the future uses of the lands and waters on the east side of Lake Winnipeg. This is how we implement our rights while building sustainable, thriving communities for our children.”

“We want to protect the environment and land, and ensure a safe, strong and prosperous future for all our families and communities,” said Doer. “This accord gives First Nations governments and our government a firm foundation to work from so that together we can help make this happen.”

Guidelines the province and First Nations agreed to include the following highlights:

- using the Wabanong Nakaygum Okimawin accord to serve as a foundation to ensure the First Nations within the east side are involved in decisions that will affect their communities and traditional territories;

- working together in a spirit of mutual recognition, respect and reconciliation to achieve the objectives and goals of the East Side Broad Area Land Use Planning Initiative; and
utilizing land-use planning and promotion of sustainable economic development that will benefit local communities will be the guiding principles of decision-making.

- The traditional land planning area is within the areas of Treaty 1, Treaty 3 and Treaty 5; therefore the province is bound by the terms of those treaties and principles of treaty interpretation as enunciated by the courts. Manitoba recognizes that it has a duty to consult in a meaningful way with the First Nations peoples any future developments in the east side planning area, the premier said.

The accord is an agreement to a set of principles and guidelines the province and First Nations on the east side of Lake Winnipeg will work from and went into effect upon its signing.

- 30 -

~ Backgrounder

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