BC Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief A-in-chut (Shawn Atleo) and AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine laud introduction of specific claims legislation

    WEST VANCOUVER, Nov. 27 /CNW/ - BC Regional Chief A-in-chut (Shawn Atleo)
and AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine see remarkable opportunities ahead in
regards to the tabling of specific claims legislation today in Parliament.
    For over 20 years First Nations have been calling for an independent
specific claims tribunal. Since July, the Assembly of First Nations and
Government of Canada have worked together on a Joint Task Force whose goal was
to reform the specific claims resolution process to make it truly fair, fast
and effective. Specific Claims Legislation tabled today creates an independent
tribunal and institutes other reforms.
    Regional Chief Atleo, who co-chaired the Joint Task Force, stated, "It
was an honour to be asked by the National Chief to participate on the task
force and to work on an initiative with such immense potential to transform
the specific claims process in B.C. and across Canada. This legislation
represents a victory and the opportunity to unleash the tremendous human and
economic promise of First Nations people."
    "The independent tribunal creates an environment favorable to the fair
and impartial consideration of legal obligations of Canada in regards to land
claims," said National Chief Phil Fontaine, "This is especially important in
British Columbia where half of the estimated backlog of 1000 claims is
located," he added.
    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.
    First Nations across Canada will now engage in regional dialogue sessions
to review the bill and all Chiefs will meet in Ottawa, Ontario for a Special
Chiefs Assembly, December 11, 12, 13, 2007 to review and consider the
    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 (604) 837-6908 or
communication@bcafn.ca; Joan McEwen, Director of Communications, (613)
241-6789 ext 242 or cell (613) 324-3329 or jmcewen@afn.ca; Nancy Pine,
Communications Advisor, Office of the National Chief, (613) 241-6789 ext 243
or cell (613) 298-6382 or npine@afn.ca; Josee Bellemare, Bilingual
Communications Officer, (613) 241-6789 ext. 336 or cell (613) 327-6331 or

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