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Chiefs Take Entitlement Concerns To Ottawa

Robert Merasty

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 1979      v09 n11-12 p13  
Representatives from Indian bands from across Saskatchewan along with delegates from the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians were in Ottawa to present their concerns regarding treaty land entitlements to the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Jake Epp.

The presentation states that the minister should not be referring the treaty land entitlements to Cabinet for review, because in the views of the 15 bands, the matter of federal responsibility has already been settled. According to the bands, additional lands under treaty have been certified.  The presentation also asks that the minister not refer to treaty land entitlement as a claim, as it is a legal treaty right. The fact that these 15 bands did not receive the amount of land to which they are entitled was a gross administrative oversight. The federal government neglected to survey reserves on accurate population statistics, as shown in the department records.

It has been two and a half years since the land selection process began, and nothing has happened in regards to land transfer. For this reason, the Saskatchewan bands are anxious to settle treaty land entitlements. This was one other reason the bands were in Ottawa to ensure that everything possible is done to hasten the transfer of lands, to settle land entitlement.

Sol Sanderson, Chief of the F.S.I., said, "The Chiefs are concerned that there is, too long a delay between time of selection and the transfer of, land to reserve status." Mr.Epp replied, "The reason they didn't move forward sooner was simple. It's because we have to get a handle on not only the department, but the government as well." He went on to say that he is preparing a cabinet document regarding intended policy on land entitlement. The minister also said, "That it's vital that this government addresses and confirms the question of policy."

The presentation outlined issues such as:

  1. The history of treaties (for clarification).
  2. Land entitlement priority (issues of Saskatchewan bands).
  3. The 1976 federal, provincial, Indian Land entitlement agreement.
  4. A commitment of federal lands, to fulfill entitlements.
  5. A commitment of federal monies to fulfil entitlement.
  6. Third party and outside interests.
  7. Shorelines.
  8. A forum to address land entitlement issues.
  9. Validation.

Since the December 31, 1976-cutoff date, there have been 1,000 new members born to validated bands; approximately 128,000 acres have already been given up in return for only 9,000 acres transferred since the agreement.

Some of the Crown lands the federal government agreed to put forward for selection and transfer to bands is 1. PFRA Pastures 2. Federal School Lands 3. National Parks 4. Department of National Defence Lands.

D.I.A.N.D Minister, Jake Epp
D.I.A.N.D. Minister, Jake Epp
F.S.I. Chief Sol Sanderson
F.S.I. Chief Sol Sanderson.

To date, the following bands have made these selections:


Chiefs Take Entitlement Concerns To Ottawa

Robert Merasty

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      NOVEMBER 1979      v09 n11-12 p14  
1. Federal Pastures
(a) Little Pine selected Paynton (approximately 2,600 acres)
(b) Keeseekoose selected Cote, St. Clair (approximately 6,080 acres).
(c) Piapot selected the Ituna - Bon Accord and the Wellington lands (approximately 49,840 acres).
(d) Nikaneet has selected lands in the Newcombe district (approximately 15,840 acres)
(e) Lucky Man Band selected lands east of North Battleford and north of Hafford (approximately 111,616 acres).

2. Provincial Pastures

(a) Canoe Lake selected Beacon Hill and Cabana (approximately 12,030 acres).
(b) Keeseekoose chose the White Beach area (approximately 17,280 acres).
(c) Red Pheasant Reserve picked the Lizard Lake area (approximately 13,840 acres).
(d) Thunderchild -selected the Fairholme district (approximately 14,080 acres) and Witchekan Lake chose the Bapaume area (approximately 7,054 acres).

In the selection of federal school lands, Muscowekwan chose the Gordon's Student Residence, situated on approximately 120.6 acres. The Peter Ballantyne Band chose the Prince Albert Student Residence. This property is estimated to be 41.15 acres.

There are other bands with outstanding treaty land, entitlements which have yet to be validated and all parties concerned are anxious to finalize them. Meetings will be held in the future with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians, the bands involved with treaty land entitlements, and the federal government to discuss the situation.