OTTAWA, May 27, 2011 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National
Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today acknowledged the potential for a
major land claims settlement, noting engagement by citizens of the
First Nation communities involved will be crucial as they prepare to
make a decision on accepting what could be one of the largest specific
land claim settlements in Ontario.
"This proposed settlement offer from the Government of Canada marks an
important step in resolving this long-standing claim and is a positive
example of First Nations and government working together to find a way
forward," said AFN National Chief Atleo. "The First Nation leaders and
citizens must now make the final decision, which is key to the success
of any outcome. These kinds of settlements have the potential to
strengthen First Nation communities and economies in ways that benefit
First Nations and all of Canada."
This week, the Government of Canada tabled a settlement offer for the
Coldwater-Narrows specific land claim between Lake Simcoe and Lake
Huron, Ontario. The Chippewas of Rama, the Chippewas of Georgina
Island, the Beausoleil FIrst Nation and the Chippewas of Nawash, who
have been involved in negotiations with the federal government since
2006 (Chippewas of Nawash since 2008), will now bring the offer to
their members for ratification.
"Although this progress is significant, at the same time it indicates
the need to continue our efforts to addressing the many outstanding
specific claims over $150 million that are currently not dealt with in
the Specific Claims Tribunal Act passed in 2008," said National Chief
Atleo, who was instrumental in the development of that legislation.
"We know we can make progress. We have an approach that works. We must
see movement on the implementation of the Specific Claims Tribunal for
claims under $150 million and to work together to develop legislation
to deal with claims over $150 million."
The proposed settlement includes a land component and financial
compensation of $307 million, determined by research done during
negotiations. The research took into account a number of factors, such
as location and age of the claim and helped quantify losses and
assessed the impact the loss of the Cold-Water-Narrows reserve had on
the First Nation communities. The four First Nation communities have
reached their own agreement on how the compensation will be divided
among their communities.
The Coldwater-Narrows claim was originally submitted by the Chippewa
Tri-Council (CTC) in November of 1991. The CTC is composed of three
First Nations: the Chippewas of Rama, the Chippewas of Georgina Island
and the Beausoleil First Nation. The Government of Canada accepted the
claim for negotiations under its Specific Claims Policy in July of
2002. Canada and the First Nations announced the start of negotiations
at a joint press conference held in Coldwater, Ontario on August 9,
2002. Following historical research undertaken in 2006, it was
determined that the Chippewas of Nawash also have an interest in the
settlement of the Coldwater-Narrows claim. The Chippewas of Nawash
joined the negotiations in 2008.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN and National Chief Atleo
on Twitter @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms and @NCAtleo.
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