Coalition united to intensify efforts to ensure Governments honour, respect and accommodate Treaty Implementation



    OTTAWA, May 15 /CNW Telbec/ - The Land Claims Agreements Coalition
concluded its third national conference on the implementation of modern
Aboriginal land claims and self-government agreements yesterday afternoon.
Held over two days, the conference, Claiming Our Future: Implementing Land
Claims Agreements for Social and Economic Prosperity, focused on the vast
array of opportunities for social, economic and cultural prosperity,
nationally and in the international sphere, available to Aboriginal peoples
through modern land claims agreements.
    Conference speakers and delegates commented on the various barriers
facing Aboriginal land claims organizations in the full and proper
implementation of their treaties--the most significant being the federal
government's failure to deliver on many of the important promises embodied in
the agreements. While Aboriginal land claims organizations have often felt
discouraged and frustrated by Canada's lack of response to their treaty
implementation concerns, the Conference's success confirmed the commitment of
these Aboriginal groups to work together towards a renewed approach to the
implementation of land claims agreements in Canada.
    The Coalition also expressed frustration and disappointment that the
Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs cancelled his appearance at the
conference and then denied the commitment. The Land Claims Agreements
Coalition, however, will continue to approach all appropriate Government
departments and agencies as part of its efforts.
    In his conference closing remarks, Kevin McKay of the Nisga'a Nation
pledged as follows: "Our treaties will not go away. The Coalition will not go
away. Rather, we will continue our work to ensure that the promises of our
treaties are fulfilled."
    Coalition Co-Chair, Paul Kaludjak of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., said
important themes of the conference were economic certainty, self-sufficiency,
improvement of quality of life and investment in the future of Aboriginal
peoples. The Conference featured intensive working group discussions focused
on ways for land claims organizations to leverage the assets and resources of
modern treaties to promote economic development and prosperity among
Aboriginal peoples. Conference delegates also discussed the role of
international initiatives in treaty implementation, including the ways in
which international collaboration can be garnered to support local,
Aboriginal-driven initiatives.
    Since 1975, the Canadian Government has entered into 22 modern land
claims agreements with Aboriginal peoples across Canada. These agreements
involve no less than half of Canada's land, water and natural resources, and
embody the government-to-government relationships that exist between
Aboriginal signatories and the Crown. While each agreement is unique, all
include promises of employment, education, cultural protection, training,
socio-economic development opportunities, and more.
    On March 3, 2009, the Coalition released a model national policy on the
implementation of modern land claims agreements in Canada. While Canada's
political leadership has not yet responded to the policy, the Coalition today
confirmed its commitment to continue to work together, in unity, on treaty
implementation initiatives. As Mr. McKay further concluded, "In that unity, I
have every confidence that we will find success."

    The Land Claims Agreements Coalition, formed in 2003, is an association
of Aboriginal groups that have signed modern treaties. The Coalition's primary
purpose is to ensure that these agreements are respected, honoured and fully
implemented. For more information, please visit www.landclaimscoalition.ca




For further information:

For further information: Jennifer David, Conference media liaison, (613)
447-2895

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Land Claims Agreements Coalition

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