OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 25, 2011) - The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians and Chief Louise Hillier of the Caldwell First Nation announced today the final settlement of a 200-year-old land claim in southwestern Ontario. The negotiated settlement provides the First Nation with $105 million to resolve the claim.
"Through negotiation, we have arrived at a settlement that not only delivers on past commitments but also opens up new opportunities for the future that will benefit the First Nation and local communities," said Minister Duncan. "This settlement shows that claim talks can be successful when both sides are determined to work through these challenging issues to find win-win solutions."
"On behalf of all Caldwell people, those who walked before us and those who are with us today, I extend our thanks to Minister Duncan for finalizing this settlement," said Chief Hillier. "We look forward to the re-emergence of our cultural identity, to solidifying all that our elders tried to maintain and to creating the homeland that has been a dream for over 220 years."
"I want to congratulate all those involved in this process for their hard work, commitment and determination to reach this historic land claim settlement," said Dave Van Kesteren, Member of Parliament for Chatham-Kent-Essex. "This settlement brings closure to a longstanding grievance while also generating economic benefits for the First Nation and neighbouring communities."
The Caldwell First Nation's claim related to reserve land and other benefits promised in a 1790 Treaty as well as to land at Point Pelee that was promised during the War of 1812.
The process for resolving this claim involved a number of steps. In January 2010, the Government of Canada and the Caldwell First Nation announced that their negotiators had concluded talks on a settlement proposal. First Nation members approved the proposed settlement in a vote on August 21, 2010. As the final step in the process, Canada approved the settlement on March 2, 2011.
Claim settlements right past wrongs while protecting the interests of private land owners. Land is not taken away from anyone to settle any claims, nor is anyone asked to sell their land unwillingly.
Negotiated agreements honour legal obligations owed to First Nations, resolving longstanding disputes about land in a way that is fair to everyone. Settlements also open up investment and business opportunities that can bring economic benefits and build new partnerships for First Nations and neighbouring communities.
The Government of Canada is delivering on its commitment to resolve outstanding land claims for the benefit of all Canadians. Settling claims through negotiated agreements is key to achieving reconciliation and rebuilding relationships with First Nation people in Canada.
This release and related background material are also available on the Internet at: www.inac.gc.ca
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