Prentice welcomes new federal negotiator for stalled Lubicon treaty talks

ALBERTA-Progress could be coming for a decades-old dispute over a treaty for the Lubicon Cree in Alberta.

Negotiations over the 80-year-old claim will now be aided by a chief negotiator, Ralph Peterson. He was appointed by Federal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt.

Premier Jim Prentice welcomed the news Friday, saying the treaty has been a priority for him following a visit to the community last fall.

“Our province has a tradition of successful land claim negotiations as it has settled 13 treaty land claims since 1986. However, the settlement of the Lubicon Lake Band land claim is an opportunity of historic proportions. Alberta remains ready and willing to meet our obligations to provide Crown lands for Lubicon reserves.”

Lubicon Lake Band is located about 450 km north of Edmonton, in the non-reserve community of Little Buffalo. It has a population of about 502 people.

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The band is the last of the Treaty 8 communities that was missed by the Treaty Commissioners at the time of treaty making, well over 100 years ago.

Land has been set aside for the treaty. The settlement is expected to follow key points from a 1988 deal that later fell apart.

Elected Lubicon Chief Billy Joe Laboucan says he and his council are pleased with Ottawa’s move.

A settlement is still expected to take about two years.

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