Blood Tribe finalizing cattle, natural gas settlements in excess of $165M from feds

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WATCH ABOVE: The Blood Tribe is in the process of finalizing two major settlements with the government of Canada pertaining to cattle and natural gas disputes dating back as far as 1877. Eloise Therien has the details on what still needs to be done before the tribe sees the money – Aug 17, 2021

The Blood Tribe says it has successfully negotiated two major settlements with the government of Canada, one of which still requires a referendum to be passed.

Cattle Claim

A $150-million cattle claim stems from the government’s failure to adhere to cattle agreements outlined in Treaty 7 in 1877, according to the Blood Tribe.

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“The Blood Tribe was in a position to receive the Treaty Entitlement Cattle in 1882,” the Blood Tribe said in an overview of the settlement. “However, the promised cattle were never provided. Because Canada did not provide the cattle as promised, the Blood Tribe suffered economic damages.”

In 1997, the tribe filed a cattle claim, which was initially rejected in 2011.

After years of back-and-forth, the tribe proposed the $150-million amount in 2019, which was approved by the government of Canada in March 2021.

Now, 24 years later, they are poised to received the allotted amount, should a community vote go forward.

Blood Tribe members aged 21 and older are asked to vote electronically on Sept. 14 and 15 or at in-person voting stations on Sept. 16 between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Those will be located at the Kainai Multipurpose Building in Standoff, the Nakiska Ballroom in Calgary, and the Italian Canadian Cultural Center in Lethbridge.

In order for the settlement to be granted, at least 25 per cent of Blood Tribe members 21 years and older must vote, with a simply majority in favour.

An online information session is being held Wednesday for community members to attend prior to the referendum. The results are expected at the end of voting day.

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If passed, each registered Blood Tribe member will receive $3,000.

The money will also be used for several capital projects, infrastructure, paying off the mortgage for the Kainai Market Place, placed into long-term investments, among other things.

Natural Gas Settlement

Another settlement has been reached, which doesn’t requite a community vote.

According to a release, the Blood Tribe submitted a claim to the federal government in September 2018 regarding the “wrongful deduction of royalties arising from the sale of natural gas extraction that was from reserve lands.”

“From 1977 to 1994, as a part of TOPGAS, (certain) industry costs were wrongfully calculated as part of deductions to royalty payments owing to First Nations that had natural gas production.”

Lance Tailfeathers, the communications consultant for Kainai Resources Inc., said it’s the due diligence and research of the tribe’s negotiation team that led them to the large settlement amount.

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“The feds (were) wanting to settle at a $2.4-million offer,” he explained. “Then the tribe said: ‘Hey, wait a minute, we want to do some calculating that we actually missed out on.’

Tailfeathers explained while plans have yet to be completed, the negotiating team has recommended the money go toward per capita distribution, additional housing, and long-term investments.

It is unclear exactly when that money will be received.

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