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Treaty Land Entitlement Ratifications Now Complete

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      FALL 1995      p22  
On September 22, 1992, First Nation, federal and provincial governments signed a historic agreement to settle Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE) claims in Saskatchewan, establishing a process to fulfill hundred year old land debts owed under treaties. In signing the agreement, however, First Nations were only agreeing in principle. The real work then began for each First Nation as they were responsible for negotiating a Band Specific and Band Trust Agreement with Canada and ratifying them with an absolute majority. The First Nations were given until September 22, 1995 to ratify these agreements. If they had not ratified by then, the settlement proposal would be withdrawn.

As of August 31, 1995, all of the 26 TLE First Nations who had adhered to the Framework Agreement, with the exception of Joseph Bighead who opted out of the proposal, have now ratified their agreements. The Pelican Lake, and Keeseekoose First Nations were the latest, and the last under the 1992 Saskatchewan Treaty Land Entitlement Framework Agreement, to do so.

The Pelican Lake First Nation had their ratification vote on August 30, 1995, while the Keeseekoose First Nation had their vote on August 31, 1995. Of those who came out to vote for both First Nations, ratification results were overwhelmingly in favour of the proposal. The chart below shows the results of the ratifications.

Overall, there has been an impressive support for the settlement proposal negotiated in the Framework agreement. With the successful ratification of the settlement at the First Nation level, the real work begins now in fulfilling the outstanding land debt. Getting land transferred to reserve status quickly and efficiently is a must now for those First Nations who have waited far too long for justice.

First Nations have selected an estimated 1.3 - 1.4 million acres to date, but only 4,380.91 acres have been designated as reserve status. It is evident that the TLE First Nations are experiencing problems in getting their selections through to reserve status. The FSIN along with the TLE First Nations have begun to identify these issues and started working with the Federal and Provincial governments in "streamlining" the reserve creation process.

It is also known that there are more than 27 First Nations in Saskatchewan with valid Treaty Land Entitlements. The Cowessess and Carry-the-Kettle First Nation settlements have modelled their agreements on the 1992 Framework Agreement. Other first Nations are in the midst of being researched for potential settlements or are in the process of making their cases.

Pelican Lake
First Nation
First Nation
Results to Date
(all Bands)
Ratification Table