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Zagimē Anishinabēk to receive $20.5M settlement due to insufficient reserve land under treaty

The federal and provincial government will compensate the Zagimē Anishinabēk $20.5 million due to insufficient reserve land promised to them under the Treaty. Germain Wilson

The Zagimē Anishinabēk, formerly Sakimay First Nation, will receive a $20.5 treaty land entitlement (TLE) settlement to support the nation in adding up to 18,620.42 acres of land. This settlement comes after a tripartite settlement agreement between the Zagimē Anishinabēk, the Government of Canada and the Province of Saskatchewan.

TLE claims in Canada are addressed at government levels to discuss, negotiate and determine a course of action for land shortfalls where First Nations received insufficient reserve land promised to them under treaty.

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“We look forward to the benefits, for current and future generations, that will result from this settlement,” said Zagimē Anishinabēk Chief Lynn Acoose in a media release. “In addition to supporting Zagimē Anishinabēk community and economic development goals, we anticipate ongoing positive relations with Canada and Saskatchewan as the work of adding to our land base proceeds under the settlement agreement.”

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Back in 1874, when Zagimē Anishinabēk signed Treaty 4, the Crown set aside 128 acres per person. However, Zagimē received 31,829 acres of land as reserve for the Nation, which represented enough land for approximately 248 individuals. According to the release, it was determined that Zagimē Anishinabēk’s population at the time of entering Treaty 4 was 271, resulting in a treaty land entitlement shortfall of 2,859 acres.

“The resolution of this significant settlement for the people of Zagimē Anishinabēk addresses a past wrong committed by Canada,” said Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations. “We remain committed to addressing the harm caused to the Zagimē Anishinabēk people, to continue to improve our relationship.”

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The Government of Canada has agreed to pay $14.5 million and the Saskatchewan government will pay the remaining $5.8 million adding up to $20.5 million to Zagimē Anishinabēk. The two levels of government have further agreed to set aside a total of $3.1 million as compensation to rural municipalities and school divisions once taxable land is set apart as reserve.

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“The Government of Saskatchewan is pleased to have fulfilled past promises to Zagimē Anishinabēk regarding their Treaty Land Entitlement Agreement,” said Don McMorris, First Nation, Métis and Northern Affairs Minister. “There will now be opportunities for land investment, economic development and community enhancements. The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to working together with First Nations and Métis partners to advance reconciliation.”

According to the release, the Zagimē Anishinabēk claim was accepted for negotiations on Sept. 18, 2006 and they executed the settlement agreement on April 12, 2022.

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