‘Whose Land WAS It, Anyway?’


This is caused by tribes filing competing land claims — all based on ‘oral history’ — none of which can be accurately resolved because their culture was unfamiliar with map-making and documentation: 

“Two Manitoba Dene ‘First Nations’ {aboriginal tribes} are turning to the courts after Crown-‘Indigenous’ {Aboriginal} Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett has refused to explain why she cancelled a meeting where a draft land claim agreement was expected to be signed. The Sayisi Dene and Northlands Denesuline ‘First Nations’ have applied for a judicial review by a federal court of Bennett’s decision to shut down negotiations.

“The land in question is {claimed but unproven} Dene ‘traditional territory’ in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut… Both the NWT Metis and Akaitcho Dene have competing claims in that area.

“In 2017, Thomas Isaac, Bennett’s special representative, prepared a report on all the competing ‘indigenous’ {aboriginal} claims in the southeastern NWT. Isaac wrote that the status quo isn’t working.
https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1496172203617/1529416485553

“Collectively, the claims and issues of the Aboriginal groups noted above represent a dynamic and challenging legal, political and negotiating environment not easily resolved”,
{!?! END RACE BASED LAW!}
wrote Isaac.
“The current negotiations and related processes applicable in the Southeast NWT appear stagnant and are not resulting in sustainable, lasting solutions that all of the relevant parties, Aboriginal peoples, the government of the NWT, and Canada, can live with.”

“In an emailed statement to ‘APTN News’, Bennett’s office appeared to back that opinion.

“Concerns have been raised by ‘indigenous’ {aboriginal} groups in the Northwest Territories about the terms of the draft agreement and the impact on their communities and rights”,
it said…

“In 2016, other ‘indigenous’ {aboriginal} groups in the NWT were able to look at the Dene’s draft agreement and expressed concerns…

“The Dene had reached a memorandum of understanding with the Inuit, where their claim overlapped into Nunavut. The agreement would allow the Dene’s one to proceed with the promise of talks at a later date to resolve outstanding issues.

“So that was something that was very successful”,
said Athabasca Denesuline chief negotiator Ron Robillard.
“And we tried to do that with the ‘indigenous’ {aboriginal} groups in the NWT — with no success.”

–‘Dene want court to force Carolyn Bennett back to the negotiating table’,
Todd Lamirande, APTN News, July 11, 2019
https://aptnnews.ca/2019/07/11/dene-want-court-to-force-carolyn-bennett-back-to-the-negotiating-table/

Feature IMAGE: Sayisi Dene and Northlands Denesuline ‘First Nations’ rally on Parliament Hill on June 19, 2019.
{Todd Lamirande – APTN)

Sayisi Dene and Northlands Denesuline ‘First Nations’ rally on Parliament Hill on June 19, 2019. {Todd Lamirande – APTN)

“Dene ‘First Nations’ {aboriginal tribes} chief negotiators say they are frustrated and outraged after learning that the Crown’s senior representative has been removed from an advanced land-claim agreement.

“Arne Peltz, legal counsel for Sayisi Dene ‘First Nation’ {a ‘nation’ of 854 people} and Northlands Denesuline ‘First Nation’ {a ‘nation’ of 1,119 people}, said that after 20 years of negotiation, the Denesuline and Canada were about to initial a land-claim agreement last month when Crown-‘Indigenous’ {‘Aboriginal’} Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett shut down negotiations, saying at the time that more consultation was required with ‘indigenous’ {‘aboriginal’} peoples in Northwest Territories {with competing claims}.

“The land in question spans northern Manitoba, Nunavut and a swath of land in the southeast corner of the Northwest Territories {Yet, the land claim also involves 3 Saskatchewan tribes}. In addition to the Sayisi Dene and Northlands Denesuline, the other three ‘First Nations’ {aboriginal tribes} involved in the negotiation dispute are Fond du Lac ‘First Nation’ {a ‘nation’ of 2,109 people}, Black Lake ‘First Nation’ {a ‘nation’ of 2,258 people} and Hatchet Lake ‘First Nation’ {a ‘nation’ of 1,921 people}, collectively called the Athabasca Denesuline…

“Shortly after Ms. Bennett’s call for more consultation, said Mr. Peltz, negotiators learned that Mary Jean Rolando, who had been the Crown’s representative for nearly two decades, was pulled from the negotiating table entirely. Ms. Rolando did not respond to a request to comment…

“Mr. Peltz said negotiators have asked the government to come back to the table and a court to order the government back to the table. He added they 

“need to have a lawyer to finish this.”

“A spokesperson from the minister’s office said the department of Crown-‘Indigenous’ {‘Aboriginal’} Relations and Northern Affairs “does not generally comment on personnel changes”, but that it is “currently taking steps to assign a new representative.” …

“In a statement on Tuesday, Benji Denechezhe, chief negotiator for Northlands Denesuline, said that removing Canada’s lawyer from the negotiation shows that Ms. Bennett and Canada 

“are moving away from their commitments to conclude our land claim and to {one-way} ‘reconciliation’ with ‘indigenous’ {‘aboriginal’} peoples.” …

–‘Uncertainty surrounds land-claim agreement after Crown representative pulled from talks with Dene First Nations’,
JANICE DICKSON, Toronto Globe and Mail, JULY 23, 2019
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-uncertainty-surrounds-land-claim-agreement-after-crown-representative/

In 1973, the Sayisi Dene left the Churchill area and moved back near their traditional territory at Tadoule Lake (CBC)

The Sayisi Dene already received 13,000 acres of Crown land to add to their reserve and $33.6 million in compensation for being relocated from 1956-1973:

‘Sayisi Dene First Nation Relocation Claim’,
https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1470926915768/1542901938153

And, of course, a government apology:
“On August 16, 2016, in Tadoule Lake, Manitoba, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of ‘Indigenous’ {‘Aboriginal’} and Northern Affairs apologized on behalf of the Government of Canada for relocating the Sayisi Dene in the 1950s and 1960s.”
Text:
https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1471286774906/1542900850824

The government of Manitoba apologized, as well:
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/manitoba-apologizes-for-forced-move-of-dene-1.973575
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