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Major land claim agreement reached between Madawaska Maliseet First Nation, federal government

Click to play video: 'Madawaska Chief happy land claim agreement reached' Madawaska Chief happy land claim agreement reached
WATCH: Chief Patricia Bernard says a major land claim agreement between the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation and the Government of Canada a “great testament to never giving up” after personally fighting for over 25 years. Travis Fortnum has the story. – Apr 13, 2021

The largest federal land claim settlement in the Maritimes has been approved by the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation in northwest New Brunswick.

The agreement was reached in March and includes a settlement package that grants the First Nation $145 million in compensation. It also has the option of acquiring up to 1,935 acres of land to add to its reserve.

Read more: Saskatchewan First Nation awarded nearly $127M in decades-long land claim settlement

A portion of the money will be paid directly to Madawaska band members, while the remainder will be placed in trust for future economic development.

“This settlement is a new beginning for us as a First Nation, and it provides major economic stimulus to New Brunswick’s economy in these difficult and uncertain times,’’ said Madawaska Chief Patricia Bernard in a statement.

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A news release from the First Nation says the agreement settles the illegal transfer of more than 2,000 acres of land that was originally reserved for the Madawaska First Nation in 1787, and includes lands that now encompass Edmundston.

Click to play video: 'Maliseet tradition runs strong at Treaty Day' Maliseet tradition runs strong at Treaty Day
Maliseet tradition runs strong at Treaty Day – Jun 4, 2017

A tribunal ruled in November 2017 that the land claim was partially valid, and the parties agreed to seek a negotiated settlement.

The First Nation agreed to release and indemnify the government of Canada for all matters relating to the claim.

The claim extended into the state of Maine but that portion was not addressed in the settlement.

— With a file from The Canadian Press

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