OTTAWA – On a date that was to feature a meeting between First Nations leaders and the Prime Minister, the federal government has announced that eight more First Nations will sign onto the Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management (FNLM). “Our Government is working with First Nations to create economic opportunities and jobs, leading to healthier, more self-sufficient communities,” said John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
“Significant progress has been made over the past year so that First Nations can assume more direct control over their reserve lands and resources, but much more remains to be done. We are committed to working with interested First Nations across the country to enable them to realize the significant economic benefits that come from participation in the FNLM Regime.”
The government, in a press release states this move is to “enabling them to begin a process to opt out of the 34 land-related sections of the Indian Act and assume greater control over their reserve land and resources”.
“The Lands Advisory Board is extremely pleased with the announcement to add 8 more signatories to the Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management,” said Chief Robert Louie, Chairman of the First Nations Lands Advisory Board. “Minister Duncan has repeatedly indicated to me that his intention is to continue to add more First Nations as signatories to the Framework Agreement, thereby providing them with the opportunity to assume total decision-making control over their reserve lands and resources. After opening the Framework Agreement to 18 new entrants last year, the Minister is again delivering on his commitment. I am pleased with the Minister’s follow through.”
“On behalf of the Board of Directors of the First Nations Land Management Resource Centre, we welcome the eight new entrants into the Framework Agreement,” said Chief Austin Bear, Chair of the First Nations Land Management Resource Centre. “The Directors and staff of the Resource Centre are committed to assisting these communities in completing their vote and ratification process in a timely and efficient manner. We look forward to them assuming control over their reserve lands and resources in the near future and making their own decisions under a Land Code developed by the membership, both on-reserve and off-reserve.”
The eight new entrants are: Kwantlen First Nation (British Columbia), Lil’wat Nation – Mount Currie Indian Band (British Columbia), Neskonlith Indian Band (British Columbia),Shxw’ow’hamel First Nation (British Columbia), George Gordon First Nation (Saskatchewan), Brokenhead Ojibway Nation (Manitoba), Algonquins of Pikwaknagan (Ontario) and Shawanaga First Nation (Ontario).
The Government of Canada is committing $3 million to fund the participation of these additional eight First Nations in the First Nations Land Management Regime. As new signatories to the Framework Agreement, these First Nations will opt out of 34 land-related sections of the Indian Act and develop their own land code to manage their reserve land, environment and resources. First Nations that are added to the schedule of the First Nations Land Management Act , are better able to pursue and seize economic opportunities at the speed of business.
The addition of these eight First Nations to the Framework Agreement means that 69 First Nations will soon be operating or developing land codes under the FNLM Regime.