Bob McLeod: Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Tłįchǫ Agreement

Aug 12 2015

Good afternoon elders, Grand Chief Erasmus, Chief Daniels, Chief Nitsiza, Chief Arrowmaker, Chief Wedawin, my MLA colleagues, ladies and gentleman.

It is my pleasure to be here today as Premier and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations to take part in the celebrations for the 10th Anniversary of the Tłįchǫ Agreement.

Creating a strong, sustainable and prosperous Northwest Territories build on partnerships has been a priority for the 17th Legislative Assembly and Government of the Northwest Territories.

Recognizing and respecting the rights of Northerners to self-determination, to make their own decisions for themselves, is an integral part of creating a strong North and a principle that continues to drive the work of the Government of the Northwest Territories.

This same principle of self-determination is reflected in the Tłįchǫ Agreement, which was the crowning achievement of the Tłįchǫ that Chief Monfwi began with the signing of Treaty 11 in 1921.

Today, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Tłįchǫ Agreement, the first land, resources and self-government agreement in the Northwest Territories.

The Tłįchǫ Agreement marked the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the Tłįchǫ people.  The Tłįchǫ people now have the tools to achieve self-determination and strengthen control over their lands and resources.

The certainty provided by the Tłįchǫ Agreement has created an atmosphere that has promoted personal and economic opportunities for success. This agreement has strengthened the economy of the Northwest Territories – to benefit all of our residents and all Canadians.

The Agreement affirmed the Tłįchǫ’s rightful place in the political, economic, social and cultural development of their people. Under the Tłįchǫ Government, 40 corporations were reorganized into the Tłįchǫ Investment Corporation, which works to ensure economic self-reliance and prosperity by creating sustainable economic development.

Your government has invested in community facilities and provided financial support for the construction of community infrastructure such as recreational facilities and office buildings.

Your government has also successfully established the Kwe Beh Working group to engage with mining industry to implement the Impact and Benefits Agreements.

The Tłįchǫ Government also worked with elders to develop the Tłįchǫ land use plan.  This plan provides a guide for the protection and future development of Tłįchǫ lands.

The Tłįchǫ Government has also worked hard to promote and preserve Tłįchǫ culture, language and customs. With the establishment of the Tłįchǫ Research and Training Institute, the Tłįchǫ were able to advance the study of their lands, language, culture and way of life.

Strong relationships with Aboriginal governments are a priority for the 17th Assembly and key to building a strong, sustainable future for our territory. We have worked hard throughout our term to strengthen our relationships with Aboriginal governments across the North. We are proud to have formal government-to-government agreements with many of them and to sit beside them on the Intergovernmental Council established as part of devolution, including the Tłįchǫ Government.

The Government of the Northwest Territories has worked in partnership with the Tłįchǫ Government over the last ten years. In 2014, the GNWT and the Tłįchǫ Government signed an Intergovernmental Agreement which reaffirms our commitment to work together.  The Tłįchǫ also signed onto the NWT Devolution Agreement which ensures that they will have a voice in managing our territory’s lands and resources.

The establishment of the Tłįchǫ Government is a testimony to how public and Aboriginal governments can – and will – work in collaboration to ensure the interests and rights of all people are protected.

So, let us celebrate the results of the commitment to hard work, dedication and partnership on this 10th anniversary of the Tłįchǫ Agreement.

Thank you for the privilege of sharing this important celebration with you.  The Government of the Northwest Territories looks forward to continuing to work with the Tłįchǫ Government on behalf of all the people of the North in the spirit of respect, recognition and responsibility.