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South Slave Metis sign preliminary land deal
Agreement-in-principle reached between Northwest Territory Metis Nation, GNWT and feds over land and resource ownership

John McFadden
Northern News Services
Monday, August 10, 2015

After almost two decades of negotiations, a land and resources agreement-in-principle has been signed between the NWT Metis Nation, representing Metis in the South Slave region and the territorial and federal governments.

The deal was signed on July 31.

According to a news release from the Northwest Territory Metis Nation, the agreement-in-principle allows all three governments to move forward toward a final agreement on lands and resources.

Future talks will address self-government by the Metis Nation and ensure clarity over the ownership, use and management of land and resources among the Metis and all parties.

Garry Bailey, president of the Northwest Territory Metis Nation, stated that the signing of the agreement-in-principle is an important milestone and also demonstrates the federal and territorial governments' commitment to concluding a final agreement with the NWT Metis Nation.

"I am proud of the milestone we have achieved and it has been a long time coming as we have been in negotiations since 1996. It is a great day for the Indigenous Metis North of 60. We look forward to a final agreement, which will give us recognition of our rights to self-governance and land water and resource capital, and at the same time, define our comparable rights within the NWT."

Bailey added that the deal is an important step toward clarifying land and resource ownership and wildlife harvesting rights.

"Furthermore, it provides a solid foundation upon which our government can build upon equitable and fair government-to-government relationships with the federal and territorial governments," he stated.

"The Northwest Territory Metis Nation is committed to achieving a final agreement in a timely manner for the interests of indigenous Metis of the NWT and future generations."

Premier Bob McLeod, who is also Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations, stated that the new deal

is an important step in clarifying land and resource ownership and wildlife harvesting rights form the South Slave Metis.

"The Government of the NWT is committed to working with Northwest Territory Metis Nation and Canada to conclude a final agreement that balances the interests of all parties, protects Metis culture and promotes a more stable, positive climate for investment and development," the premier stated.

Bernard Valcourt, federal Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development agrees with McLeod that the agreement-in-principle is a step towards the Metis achieving economic growth and investment opportunities.

"It serves as a clear indication of what can be achieved when partners work together to find an agreement that is mutually acceptable for all the parties," he stated.

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Anatomy of the Metis AIP

The agreement-in-principle (AIP) deals with various matters including harvesting of wildlife, fish, trees and plants, national parks, protected areas, subsurface resources, mineral royalty sharing and economic measures

Under a final agreement, the NWT Metis Nation would receive $69.4 million and 25,194 square kilometres of land

When a final agreement is reached, the members of the NWT Metis Nation will vote on the agreement prior to it being approved by the GNWT and the Government of Canada

Consultations with aboriginal groups were carried out prior to concluding the AIP and will continue as part of the final agreement negotiations

Since 2006, Canada and its negotiation partners have signed six comprehensive land claims (modern treaties) agreements in the NWT, B.C., Manitoba and Quebec. Of the six signed comprehensive land claim agreements, four include provisions related to self government. In the past 18 months, three agreements-in-principle and one final agreement have been signed in the NWT

Source: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

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