Five B.C. First Nations reach settlement with the provincial and federal governments on Treaty Land Entitlement claims

Matsqui First Nation to receive more than $59 million in effort to address past wrong

February 22, 2024 at 10:40 pm  Federal, Politics

February 21, 2024 — Matsqui First Nation Territory, Abbotsford, British Columbia — Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

The Government of Canada is working to renew the relationships with Indigenous Peoples in Canada based on the affirmation of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. That work includes paying compensation to First Nations through specific claims settlements to address past wrongs committed by the federal government. 

Today, Alice McKay, Chief of Matsqui First Nation, and the Honourable Gary Anandasangaree, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, announced a settlement of more than $59 million to compensate Matsqui for the taking of its reserve lands without adequate compensation and for severing access to their reserve lands through the building of the Vancouver Power Company Right-of-Way on Sahhacum Indian Reserve 1 and Matsqui Main Indian Reserve 2. 

In 1908, Canada granted the Vancouver Power Company rights of way—referring to the corridor of land taken from the reserve—for the construction and operation of a tramway across two Matsqui First Nation reserves. Matsqui did not receive adequate compensation for the taking of its reserve lands. Additionally, Canada was supposed to ensure crossings were built and maintained across the rights of way, but did not uphold that agreement. As a result, Matsqui’s access to its reserve lands was cut off. 

Decades of colonial policies, including the denial and dispossession of land, have created socio-economic gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Honouring Canada’s legal obligations and properly compensating Indigenous Peoples for what was unlawfully taken or withheld from them is fundamental for rebuilding trust with Indigenous communities.

The successful resolution of claims like this one is a key step in reconciliation with First Nations—one that acknowledges and addresses the wrongs of the past and helps to build a better future for everyone in Canada.

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