Talks progressing
DCFN, Dogribs discuss border

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Fort Simpson (Feb 25/00) - A boundary issue between the Deh Cho First Nations and the Dogribs could be resolved as soon as this summer, according to DCFN boundaries co-ordinator Herb Norwegian.

The two First Nations groups, which met last week, have been contesting an area northeast of the Horn Plateau, roughly 100 kilometres by 50 kilometres, for the past couple of years.

On Thursday, Dogrib negotiators John B. Zoe and Eddie Erasmus visited Fort Simpson to meet with chiefs from the four affected Deh Cho communities -- Fort Providence, Wrigley, Fort Simpson and Jean Marie River -- as well as some elders and Grand Chief Michael Nadli. The meeting proved fruitful, according to Norwegian.

"I think one of the elders (Ted Landry of Fort Providence) sort of captured just what took place, he said, 'We should have really taken this outlook right at the beginning.'"

Norwegian said a document has been drawn up that lays out a procedure to resolve the issue.

"Now it's looking good, and it could mean that maybe before the summer we could have something resolved," he said.

The Dogribs signed an agreement in principle (AIP) on their land claim last year, but cannot complete the land claim process until the boundary issue has been completed, Norwegian acknowledged. Likewise, the DCFN, which are only in the initial stages of their self-government process, require the issue to be put to rest as well.

Both sides must now report to their respective harvesters in the affected communities before proceeding, he said. The DCFN and the Dogribs will likely form working groups to advance the negotiations, he added.

"It would look at where people are going to be trapping this season, because the last thing you want is people affecting each other's harvesting rights," he said. "The other one is environmental monitoring."