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First Nations reaffirms rights to land, natural resources

Cameron said reconciliation must be achieved through economic reconciliation and inclusion.
Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron calls on the federal government to rescind the Natural Resources Transfer Agreement.

SASKATOON - The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations has reiterated the claims of Indigenous peoples to the land and resources in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, citing the right protected in international law and the Treaties signed by their ancestors.

The FSIN called on Canada to involve First Nations peoples and governments in the administration, revenue collection and distribution of all lands and resources in the spirit of reconciliation between Indigenous communities and the federal government.

Under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, First Nations, as owners of land and resources, have rights to royalties and the economic benefits it earns.

Chief Bobby Cameron of the FSIN said their ancestors had signed the Treaty to ensure that future generations could live on the land and reap its benefits. He emphasized that reconciliation must be achieved through economic reconciliation and inclusion.

“First Nations are the original stewards of the land, water, animals and resources and are now unfairly being barred from the modern implementation of Treaty rights by the government's narrow view of Treaty and selfish entitlement to the governance of resources,” said Cameron.

First Nations should earn royalties and be compensated for the extraction of renewable and non-renewable resources like potash, oil, gas and other minerals, according to Chief Cameron. Economic gains should go directly to First Nations communities.

Cameron said that despite the 1930s Natural Resources Transfer Agreement and the government’s assumed administrative control of lands and resources, Canada must recognize the Inherent and Treaty rights of First Nations.

He called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to support Justice Minister and Attorney General David Lametti’s statement of rescinding the 1930s NRTA.

“We encourage Prime Minister Trudeau to support his statement and carry out the necessary parliamentary motions to rescind the 1930s Natural Resource Transfer Agreement against Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba provinces,” said Cameron.

The agreement was created to give the government administrative control over lands and natural resources in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, something that Lametti is looking to rescind after meeting First Nations Chiefs and National Assembly of First Nations leaders.

Cameron said First Nations Chiefs and other Indigenous leaders look forward to exercising the rights to natural resources in the province accorded to them by the Treaties signed.

He added that the former Chiefs who signed the Treaties only wanted what was best for their people, making sure generations could make a living and prosper like their white brothers and sisters.

“These are welcomed comments by Minister Lametti. We hope the government will follow a path of true reconciliation and include economics. No First Nations should live in poverty while wealth and prosperity grow around them. We have been battling poverty perpetuated by systemic discrimination for 150 years, and the NRTA is just another way the settlers ensured Indigenous people would remain left out and powerless,” said Cameron.