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Virtual Museum of Canada The Making of Treaty #8 in Canada's Northwest
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1899 and After

Comments on Interpretations of "Entitlement Land" 

Article Feature by Theresa A. Feguson

cree campThis paper raises questions concerning the generally accepted interpretations of the concept of entitlement land in the treaty entitlement process. First, the documentation available on the treaty process and the land selection process show little real communication of the land quantum of 128 acres per person and indeed reveal that First Nations thought their reserves would be much larger. Any land negotiations based on this lack of a meeting of minds should take this into consideration. Second, during the land selection process, the government of Canada expressed ideas about, not just a land quantum, but the kind of resources which should be part of treaty entitlement land, notably agricultural resources. This idea led to the occasional inclusion within a reserve of land which by virtue of its lack of resources was not then considered entitlement land. Today it is assumed that all reserve land is entitlement land, but historically this was not so. This paper cautions First Nations considering treaty land entitlement claims to analyze carefully the survey reports for indications the surveyor was making a distinction.

For more information on Treaty 8 Revisited: Selected Papers on the 1999 Centennial Conference, visit the Lobstick website

Reprinted from with permission from the author and Lobstick: An Interdisciplinary Journal. 

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