Minister Strahl attends cultural celebration with BC First Nation



    SKATIN, BC, Aug. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister
of Indian and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and
Non-status Indians, ended his first full week in his new portfolio by joining
In-SHUCK-ch Nation in a celebration of its culture and achievements at the
first annual In-SHUCK-ch Days in Skatin, British Columbia.
    "It's a privilege to join friends and neighbours in my constituency of
Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon as Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern
Development," said Minister Strahl following a tour of In-SHUCK-ch exhibits
and demonstrations on Saturday, August 25.
    During his visit, Minister Strahl signed the Agreement in Principle (AIP)
negotiated under the BC treaty process by In-SHUCK-ch, British Columbia and
Canada. Canada's formal approval of the AIP concludes Stage 4 of In-SHUCK-ch
Nation negotiations. Negotiators are now working toward a Final Agreement.
    Minister Strahl congratulated the In-SHUCK-ch leaders and all treaty
negotiators for their commitment, vision and perseverance. "This is an
important milestone in negotiations with In-SHUCK-ch Nation as the AIP sets
out the basis for a Final Agreement which will provide In-SHUCK-ch with tools
and resources to support a strong and vibrant community," stated Minister
Strahl. "A treaty will also bring certainty with regard to In-SHUCK-ch
Nation's rights and title throughout their traditional territory. Benefits of
the treaty will be felt by all area residents and throughout British Columbia
as a whole."
    Upon his appointment as Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs and
Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-status
Indians, Minister Strahl immediately embarked on a far-reaching tour that
included destinations in BC, Manitoba and Quebec. His very first act was to
meet with former residential school students, while in Winnipeg.
    "My intent with each of my initial meetings this early in my tenure was
to listen," stated Minister Strahl.
    "Canada's New Government has made progress on key Aboriginal and Northern
issues and I am committed to continuing the work to speed up the resolution of
land claims, complete self-government negotiations and honour treaties. We
must also remain focussed on improving educational outcomes, addressing
housing and infrastructure concerns and ensuring safe drinking water. Finally,
I look forward to delivering on our commitment to provide access to human
rights protection for First Nations people living on reserve - access denied
for far too long, and to putting in place legislation to deal with matrimonial
real property on reserve.
    "I commend each and every individual leader with whom I met for their
vision and dedication to build stronger communities and better lives for their
members. With the momentum built this last week, I look forward to continuing
the dialogue and continuing to deliver real results for First Nations, Inuit,
Métis and Northern people to the benefit of all Canadians," said the Minister.

    This release is also available on the Internet at www.inac.gc.ca.




For further information:

For further information: Ted Yeomans, Minister's Office, Director of
Communications, Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl, (819) 997-0002; INAC
Media Relations, (819) 953-1160


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