Long Plain First Nation has settled its 141-year-old loss-of-use claim with the Canadian government for $21.3 million, tying off the loose ends of its 1994 land-claim settlement.
After the Treaty 1 First Nation resolved its land entitlement claim in 1994, it then pursued a separate claim to be compensated financially for its loss of use over the land during the time the treaty, signed with the Crown in 1871, went unfulfilled.
“Today we honour our sacred covenant, our treaty with the Crown,” said Long Plain First Nation Chief David Meeches in a March 19 statement from the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (AAND) announcing the fiscal settlement. “It is important we honor our ancestors by conducting today’s signing ceremony as they did in 1871, by way of a pipe ceremony, sealing it with the Creator. This settlement will assist in preparing for our future.”
The money will go toward investment and business opportunities with the idea of creating jobs and other long-term economic benefits for Long Plain’s approximately 4,000 members, who live on two reserves, including one in Portage la Prairie, about 50 miles northwest of Winnipeg. A third, another urban reserve, is being created in Winnipeg, according to Long Plain’s website.
The agreement “will go a long way in creating new investment and employment opportunities for the First Nation and the surrounding communities,” said AAND Minister John Duncan in the statement.
The money will be deposited into a trust account to pay collective expenses including annual income tax on the fund, and a per-capita account, from which each member under age 55 will receive $500 and those 55-plus will get $750 each, Long Plain told its membership.
More information on the Long Plain First Nations settlement is here.