CARCROSS, YT, July 18, 2012 /CNW/ - Former Yukon chief negotiator Barry
Stuart has expressed concern about the federal government's refusal to
negotiate with the Carcross/Tagish First Nation (C/TFN), which would
effectively defund the First Nation. The Harper government has
threatened to do so unless the First Nation signs an unfair, unequal
and non-negotiable funding agreement.
The former chief negotiator, who has spent 35 years focused on conflict
resolution, much of it in Yukon, said: "I am very saddened by what is
The C/TFN is one of 11 self-governing First Nations in the Yukon and one
of 19 self-governing First Nations in the country. It achieved this
status in 2006, through the constitutionally-mandated Self-Government
Agreement. C/TFN's Financial Transfer Agreement expired on March 31,
2012. Federal negotiators came to the table without a mandate to
provide comparable funding for essential programs and services. The
federal government demanded the C/TFN sign or see its funding
withdrawn. Stuart is concerned that what the government is doing will
only perpetuate a divide between First Nations and Canada.
"I hoped that we were opening a new relationship, based on constructive
partnerships, instead of relationships based on conflict," said Stuart.
"Inadequate funding sets the Carcross/Tagish First Nation up to fail. I
do not believe that the Prime Minister or the Minister of Aboriginal
Affairs are acutely aware of the ramifications of the position they
have taken. It's hard for me to believe they would respond to new
governments in this way."
The C/TFN expressed its happiness that an esteemed negotiator like
Stuart has stepped forward to tell the Harper government to come back
to the negotiating table with a mandate of fair and equitable funding,
so the First Nation can continue to provide essential programs and
services to its people.
"Barry Stuart understands the importance of self-governing First
Nations," said C/TFN Kha Shade Heni (Chief) Danny Cresswell. "He
understands that the Government of Canada must see us as an equal in
government-to-government negotiations just as it does provinces and
The C/TFN is a self-governing Yukon First Nation located in the
southwest of Yukon. Their territory surrounds a portion of the Klondike
highway that runs from Skagway, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon, including
the Nares River Bridge, which is a vital gateway for Yukon commerce and
The Carcross/Tagish First Nation is mandated to protect the environment,
health, education and aboriginal rights of its people; to continue to
preserve and protect its culture and traditions; to protect and develop
its natural resources and strengthen its economy and the government of
the Carcross/Tagish First Nation for future generations.
SOURCE Carcross/Tagish First Nation
For further information:
Beverly M. Sembsmoen Phone: (867) 821-4251 extension 8210