SASKATOON, SK, April 27, 2017 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada and the Whitecap Dakota First Nation achieved a major milestone in their journey toward reconciliation and renewed relationships today by signing an historic Agreement-in-Principle. This is a key step on the path to self-government for the Whitecap Dakota First Nation.
The Governance Agreement-in-Principle paves the way for continued negotiations toward a final agreement that will fundamentally redefine the relationship between Canada and the First Nation.
A final self-government agreement will bring the Whitecap Dakota First Nation out from under the Indian Act and ensure the First Nation has greater control over the decisions that affect its community. This includes how the First Nation will manage its own resources, promote and enhance its culture and build on its positive accountability and governance track record, as well as its successes in community and economic development.
Self-government advances Indigenous self-determination and can inspire transformational change in Indigenous communities. It is part of the foundation for a renewed relationship and is a pathway to development and economic growth that generates benefits for Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.
- Consultations have been undertaken with community members, resulting in a motion of support at a community meeting to proceed with the Agreement-in-Principle. This important dialogue will continue during the final agreement negotiations.
- No final self-government agreement is possible without the approval of Whitecap Dakota First Nation members.
- Under self-government, First Nation laws will operate in harmony with federal and provincial laws. Third parties or non-member residents on First Nation lands will have input into laws that directly affect them.
- To date, Canada has signed 22 final self-government agreements with 37 Indigenous communities.
- Research has shown that Indigenous self-government can help close socio- economic gaps and improve community well-being.
"This is a significant step to strengthen our nation-to-nation relationship and advance reconciliation with Whitecap Dakota First Nation. Through these historic talks, we are setting the stage for the First Nation to build on their successes, moving out from under the Indian Act and charting their own path toward a bright and prosperous future."
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs
"Strong governance and sustainable economic development go hand-in-hand in realizing our community's vision to thrive outside of the Indian Act. This Agreement in Principle is a milestone along that journey. We look forward to working with Canada to complete negotiations and achieve self-governance for our members."
Chief Darcy Bear
Whitecap Dakota First Nation
Backgrounder: Whitecap Dakota First Nation Governance Agreement-in-Principle Signing Ceremony
Whitecap Dakota First Nation
SOURCE Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
For further information: media may contact: Sabrina Williams, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, 613-697-8316; Media Relations, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, 819-953-1160; Kaveri Braid, Communications Consultant, Whitecap Dakota First Nation, 306-664-1994, Cell: 306-220-4714