CORNWALL, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 17, 2012) - The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, today joined Grand Chief Mike Kanentakeron Mitchell of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) and community members at a ceremony to commemorate the final settlement of a specific claim dating back to the 1820s. The negotiated settlement includes approximately $5 million in financial compensation.
"This historic agreement shows that negotiations deliver results when there is a firm resolve on both sides to find a solution," said Minister Duncan. "We look forward to building on our strong relationship with Akwesasne as we continue to work together on shared priorities, such as economic development and creating the conditions for healthier, more self-sufficient First Nation communities."
"We are pleased that a past wrong to our people has now been corrected," stated Grand Chief Mike Mitchell. "Throughout the negotiations, it was important that we worked together to resolve this claim fairly, expeditiously and in the context of respect and good will that now serves as a foundation for our future relationship. We look forward to working together in resolving larger land claims that involve Akwesasne."
The Kawehnoke specific claim related to lands leased on Kawehnoke (Cornwall Island) between 1820 and 1934. As all the leased lands currently are part of the Akwesasne Reserve, the focus of the negotiations was on financial compensation only.
In February 2012, Canada and the MCA concluded negotiations on a proposed settlement to resolve the claim. MCA members voted to approve the proposed settlement on May 26, 2012, and about 95 per cent voted in favour. The Government of Canada approved the proposed settlement in September 2012.
Canada and the MCA have also made progress in their joint work in other areas. This includes renewing an important Political Protocol on May 31, 2012, and achieving a key milestone in their ongoing self-government negotiations. The Political Protocol sets out how the parties will continue to work together in partnership on key issues for the benefit of the community.
Negotiators for Canada and MCA also concluded talks on two draft Agreements-in Principle (AIPs) - on governance and the management of reserve land. These draft AIPs are significant steps toward final self-government agreements that would give the MCA greater control over the decisions that affect its community in these key areas.
The Harper Government is committed to working with First Nation partners across the country to achieve results at negotiating tables for the benefit of all Canadians. Negotiating claim and self-government agreements is key to achieving reconciliation and rebuilding relationships with First Nation people in Canada. Since 2007, Canada has settled over 80 specific claims representing over $1 billion through negotiated agreements.
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