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Implications and Contentions - Land Claims

Chief Mountain, near the Kainai Reserve

In exchange for relinquishing “Indian title,” the Federal government provided First Nations Peoples with specific rights. As outlined in the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (AAND) website, these rights include: “the right to exclusive use of certain lands; the right to use, and sometimes participate in the management of resources on other lands; cash compensation; economic development assistance; and program benefits such as education and health.” (http://www.aand.gov.ab.ca/PDFs/Treaty Land Entitlement Claims-2003.pdf) Yet despite ceding their title, some First Nations did not receive any reserve land or any other entitlements. The federal and provincial government, therefore, have the responsibility of ensuring that the obligations set out by the treaties are met.

One particular land claim agreement occurred in September 2003 when Minister Robert Nault settled a claim with Siksika Nation Chief Adrian Stimson Senior. In 1910 over 5,000 hectares of reserve land were surrendered to the government. This meant that the agriculturally-productive land on these southern plains could not be cultivated and crops were not grown. Over the many decades the Siksika suffered damages and losses as a result of the land surrender. The settlement promised $82 million in compensation in loses and suffering. This money will ensure that future generations of Siksika will benefit from this settlement.

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