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The decision to approve the formula was made at a cabinet meeting in late March and was announced to the All Chiefs Conference in Saskatoon in April.
The formula will multiply the Dec. 31, 1976 population of any band eligible for more land by 128 (acres per person) and subtract land already received in previous reserve selections.
In a letter to Ted Bowerman minister of the department of northern Saskatchewan, Indian Affairs Minister Warren Allmand said, "I am hopeful all outstanding entitlements can be settled from available provincial Crown lands or through the surrender of entitlements in exchange for resource-sharing or joint ventures."
The provincial government has previously, taken the stand that federal Crown lands should also be made available. It has also argued that the federal government may be obliged to purchase privately-held lands.
The department of Indian affairs has recognized 16 bands have land still coming to them under commitments made in treaties or treaty adhesions. The treaties promised one section of land per family of five.
The 16 bands with recognized entitlements are: Canoe Lake, English River, Fond du Lac, Keeseekoose, Muskowekwan, One Arrow, Peter Ballantyne, Piapot, Red Pheasant, Stony Rapids, Witchekan, Lucky Man, Little Pine, Nikaneet, Thunderchild and Chitek Lake.
FSI secretary Cy Standing told the All Chiefs Conference "through negotiations we have changed the attitudes of both the federal and the provincial governments."
FSI second vice-president, Alec Kennedy said the "governments have to fulfil treaty commitments by treaty and by law."
Kennedy told the chiefs the formula agreed upon was the best formula which could be accepted by all parties.
He said the entitlement bands will now be seeking land with the best potential for economic development. These would include lands with agricultural, timber, mining and trapping potential.
To ensure the best lands are selected, expert advice will be needed, Kennedy said. He talked at length about a, geographer who can study prospective new lands and give a positive answer as to their economic value. A librarian to compile the data will also be necessary, he said.
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Kennedy suggested a field trip to Alaska, where Indian bands have been through a similar land selection process, might be helpful.
In a letter to FSI Chief David Ahenakew, Allmand said he is now awaiting a budget proposal from the FSI for funding the selection process.
Chief Felix Musqua of the Keeseekoose band said his band has already on its own begun to negotiate with the federal and provincial governments for settlement of its claim.
Chief Musqua said the band is now eyeing two specific land areas which would be of economic value to the Keeseekoose band.
The chief said he is planning a band meeting to iron out some misunderstandings which have arisen about the settlement.
Using population statistics from district offices, the FSI's treaty research program now calculates the lawful entitlement for the 16 bands to be 995,000 acres.