First Nations Chiefs pass resolution supporting Specific Claims Legislation



    WEST VANCOUVER, Dec. 13 /CNW/ - First Nations Chiefs attending the
Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly in Ottawa, Ontario have
passed a resolution supporting Bill C-30 (The Specific Claims Tribunal Act).
The resolution calls for a fair, effective, and efficient system to resolve
First Nations' specific land claims.
    The legislation is the result of a joint process by the AFN and Canada.
It is accompanied by a political agreement that provides an ongoing forum for
Canada and First Nations to deal with outstanding issues not covered by the
legislation. For example, the Tribunal will have authority to make binding
decisions on the validity of claims and compensations issues in respect of
claims that have a value of up to $150 million dollars. The political
agreement will deal with claims over $150 million.
    "The support for this resolution shows there is a strong desire by First
Nations for a new approach to resolving specific claims. It calls for our
people to be fully and meaningfully engaged in the outstanding issues
recognized by the political agreement and the implementation of the
legislation through to a statutory review in five years," said BC Assembly of
First Nations Regional Chief A-in-chut (Shawn Atleo), "The AFN welcomes input
from across the country and recognizes how important this legislation and
agreement is to all First Nations," he added.
    The resolution supports the fact that First Nations have an active
interest in a full review and discussion of the proposed legislation.
Therefore the AFN will make possible First Nations involvement in discussing
the approach and in raising any further issues with the Parliamentary
Committee.
    The Specific Claims Legislation and political agreement are very
important to BC First Nations. Of a backlog of roughly 1000 unresolved claims
in Canada, about half are situated in BC. "Our goal in creating a new approach
was to find a way to re-invigorate the specific claims process. We believe
this legislation does so and is a benefit, not only to First Nations, but all
Canadians," concluded the Regional Chief, who co-chaired the Specific Claims
Task Force along with a representative from the Prime Minister's Office.
    BC Regional Chief A-in-chut is elected by and accountable to the
203 First Nations in British Columbia.





For further information:

For further information: Ryneld Starr, Communications Officer, BC
Assembly of First Nations, (604) 922-7733 or cell (604) 837-6908 or
communication@bcafn.ca

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BC Assembly of First Nations

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