Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in the former Siksika First Nation in Calgary to sign the settlement of a historic land claim, which the federal government says is the largest settlement of its kind in Canada.
Siksika chief Ore Crowfoot said the agreement would not make up for past mistakes, but it would make a difference in people’s lives and provide opportunities they didn’t have before.
look | In the video at the top of this story, hear Trudeau explain why it’s ‘humble’ to see First Nations partner with the federal government despite a complicated history of antitrust
Trudeau and Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Mark Miller attended the signing ceremony with Crowfoot, band council and community members at the Siksika First Nation on Thursday.
“We have gathered today to right the wrongs from the past,” Trudeau said during the ceremony.
“We have gathered to give ourselves a chance to begin rebuilding trust between us, nation to nation.”
The federal government said the agreement dates back more than a century after Canada broke its Blackfoot Treaty promise and took nearly half of the Siksika Nation’s reserve land, including some of its agricultural land, to sell to settlers in the area. .
The agreement provides $1.3 billion in compensation to the nation of Siksika to settle outstanding land claims, including approximately 46,500 hectares of the Siksika Reserve and some mineral rights taken by Canada.
‘I see us becoming a prosperous nation’
Crowfoot said the settlement doesn’t make up for past mistakes, but it will change people’s lives.
“Canada needs to stop using the word reconciliation. You will never reconcile, you will never achieve it,” he said.
“This land claim – $1.3 billion, that’s a lot of money – it will never make it as perfect as it was before. But we have to move on. What is $1.3? [billion] Can provide opportunities, opportunities that we did not have before.
“I see the tide turning for Siksika… I see that we are becoming a prosperous nation.”
Siksika’s website says each member of the First Nation will receive $20,000 in July as part of the agreement.