Gwich’in Tribal Council Re-joins Devolution Negotiations
YELLOWNIFE (September 13, 2012) – The Gwich’in Tribal Council (GTC) has signed the Devolution Agreement-in-Principle (AiP) and will rejoin the negotiations to transfer Crown land and resource management responsibilities from the Government of Canada to the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT).
The President of the Gwich’in Tribal Council, Robert A. Alexie, called the signing of the Agreement-in Principle a bold first step. “This historic undertaking creates a new partnership to foster economic stability and political security in the Gwich’in Settlement Region and throughout the Territory. For too long we have dealt with uncertainty and a lack of clear direction. Our people are ready to build on their hard-won past accomplishments and join the global community as equal partners. Today we look to further progress with confidence and faith in the process.”
“I am pleased to welcome the Gwich’in back to the table to ensure that the voices and priorities of their people are reflected in this historic agreement,” said Premier Bob McLeod. “The GTC was an important participant in shaping the AIP for almost ten years and we welcome them back to the devolution negotiation table. When we work together, we can make sure we negotiate the best possible devolution agreement for all NWT residents and governments.”
“We are pleased that our neighbours, the Gwich’in Tribal Council, have signed on to the Agreement-in-Principle and we look forward to working with them in the future,” said Nellie Cournoyea, Chair and CEO of Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC). “The participation of the Gwich’in will provide additional strength for the position of Aboriginal governments in these important negotiations, as we work towards a devolution agreement that will benefit all regions of the NWT.”
The AIP includes a number of provisions that directly benefit the Gwich’in, including:
- A seat at the table to negotiate the final agreement to ensure that Gwich’in concerns and interests are addressed, along with funding to support Gwich’in participation.
- A share of resource revenues from Crown land, in addition to the revenues the Gwich’in already collect from development on Crown land throughout the Mackenzie Valley.
NWT lands and resources devolution will transfer administrative authority and control over public lands, resources and rights in respect of water in the Northwest Territories from the Government of Canada to the GNWT. After devolution, the GNWT will be responsible for the management of public lands, resources and rights in respect of water in the NWT, including the delivery of related public programs, and will have the right to keep a share of the resource development royalties collected on NWT public lands. The GNWT has agreed to share up to 25% of its royalties with NWT Aboriginal governments – a sharing unprecedented in Canada. The governments of Canada, the NWT, GTC, IRC, Northwest Territory Métis Nation and Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated are currently in the final stage of devolution negotiations. Negotiations are expected to conclude in 2012.
For more information on NWT lands and resources devolution, visit the GNWT’s devolution website.
For further information, please contact:
Office of the Premier and Executive Council
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: (867) 669-2302
Fax: (867) 873-0111
Larry Frolick, BA, LLB, MAIS
Gwich’in Tribal Council
Fax: 867 -777-7919