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

ʔaq̓am, formerly known as the St. Mary’s Indian Band, receives settlement for Canada’s historical injustices

April 5, 2024 at 9:14 am  Federal, Politics

April 4, 2024 — ʔaq̓am, British Columbia — Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

The Government of Canada is working to renew the relationship between the Crown and Indigenous Peoples in Canada based on the affirmation of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. A new era guided by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act is underway in Canada.

Today, Nasuʔkin Joe Pierre Jr. of ʔaq̓am and the Honourable Gary Anandasangaree, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, announced the settlement of ʔaq̓am’s 1942 Timber Surrender Specific Claim. The efforts of ʔaq̓am and Canada to resolve this specific claim address a longstanding grievance and serve as a symbol of Canada’s commitment to healing and reconciliation with the ʔaq̓am community.

Stemming from the 1942 surrender and sale of timber on ʔaq̓am’s Kootenay Reserve No.1, Canada failed to properly manage the sale of the timber. Specifically, the sale of the timber did not reflect ʔaq̓am’s stated requirements, and the timber was sold at a lower rate, resulting in economic losses to the community. Canada provided $7,067,507 in compensation to address this historical wrong.

The socio-economic gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples in Canada are the result of decades of colonial policies, which often led to the denial and dispossession of land and resources. Honouring Canada’s legal obligations and properly compensating Indigenous Peoples for what was unlawfully taken or withheld from them is fundamental to advancing reconciliation in Canada, and rebuilding trust with Indigenous communities.

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

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