Devolution – Aboriginal Rights Agreements and Negotiations
Premier Floyd K. Roland says concerns that Devolution will impact existing land claims and current land, resources and self-government negotiations are unfounded.
In the first of a series of statements he will make to clarify misconceptions and misinformation arising out of the leak of the proposed Agreement-in-Principle (AiP), the Premier refuted speculation that approval of a draft AiP will prejudice current Aboriginal rights negotiations or violate existing land claims agreements.
“Nothing is further from the truth,” the Premier said.
The Premier highlighted for Members of the 16th Assembly many of the specific protections for existing Aboriginal Treaty rights and settlements as well as future settlements included in the draft Agreement-in-Principle on Devolution:
- if there is a conflict between the devolution agreement and a land claim, the land claim will prevail;
- devolution deals with administration and control over Crown lands; land claim agreements and self government agreements address the Aboriginal party’s authority to administer and control settlements lands;
- the focus of self-government negotiations is in areas such as education, social assistance, child protection, adoption and social housing; devolution negotiations only address the powers and authorities of a public government to administer and control public land;
- devolution does not affect rights related to Aboriginal lands as set out in comprehensive land claim agreements, or Aboriginal government jurisdiction, including jurisdiction over Aboriginal lands contemplated under Aboriginal self-government agreements; and
- with or without devolution, claimant groups will all continue to own the surface and subsurface lands identified in their respective agreements.
“I believe we may have the basis for a deal on Devolution that will create real benefits and opportunities, that will bring decision making about the North, to the North, for all residents of the Northwest Territories,” he noted.
For the Premier’s full statement, visit: www.gov.nt.ca
For more information, contact:
Office of the Premier/Cabinet
Government of the Northwest Territories
Phone: (867) 669-2302