Premier signs historic land claim agreement with Alberta First Nation


SIKSIKA, Alta. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the head of a Southern Alberta First Nation have signed a historic land claim agreement that the federal government says is one of the largest of its kind in Canada.

SIKSIKA, Alta. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the head of a Southern Alberta First Nation have signed a historic land claim agreement that the federal government says is one of the largest of its kind in Canada.

Trudeau and Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, participated in a signing ceremony Thursday with Chief Ouray Crowfoot of the Siksika First Nation, his council and members of the community 150 kilometers east of Calgary.

“We are meeting today to right a wrong of the past,” Trudeau said during the ceremony where the original treaty was signed 145 years ago.

“We are gathered together to give ourselves the opportunity to begin to rebuild trust with each other, nation to nation.”

The federal government said the settlement dates back more than a century, when Canada broke its Blackfoot Treaty promise and seized nearly half of Siksika’s reservation land, including some of its farmland, to sell to people who wanted to settle. established in the area.

The agreement provides $1.3 billion in compensation to the First Nation to settle pending land claims, which include around 46,500 hectares of the Siksika Reserve and certain mining rights taken by Canada.

Miller drew applause as he addressed the Blackfoot crowd in a speech that lasted nearly three minutes.

“We’ll see if I can do better in English,” Miller joked after they finished.

“Today is a new day. It’s time to move on.”

Trudeau said it’s important to move forward with indigenous peoples as partners.

“This agreement will allow them to invest in their priorities, such as infrastructure, education and support for the elderly and young,” he said. “It will create new economic, social and cultural opportunities.”

Crowfoot said the deal doesn’t make up for past mistakes, but it will make a difference in people’s lives.

“Canada needs to stop using the word reconciliation. They will never reconcile. It will never complete it,” she said.

“This land claim, $1.3 billion, that’s a lot of money, it’s never going to be what it was before. But we have to move on. What the $1.3 (billion) can do is provide opportunities, opportunities that we didn’t .not have before.

“I see that the tide is turning for Siksika… I see that we have become a prosperous nation.”

Crowfoot said some of the money will be spent on addressing issues affecting its members.

“We’re the second largest First Nation from a land perspective, but we don’t have surveillance on the reservation,” he said. “We are working to get our surveillance back.

“We are working through the residential school and mental health searches.”

Siksika’s website indicates that each member will also receive $20,000 in July as part of the deal.

In his opening speech at the signing ceremony, Crowfoot noted that he still wasn’t sure if he considered Trudeau a friend.

He explained at a media availability later that he knows Miller has proven to be a friend to the people of Siksika.

“I have about three friends who I consider to be close friends. This is the first time I have met the prime minister,” he said.

“How do we work on these relationships so that you can call the prime minister a friend? I don’t call him an enemy.”

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 2, 2022.

— With Colette Derworiz Archives in Calgary

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press





Reference-www.sudbury.com

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