Labrador Innu leaders say they'll only agree to proposed hydroelectric developments on the lower Churchill River if the Innu are guaranteed jobs with the project.
"It's going to be a very high priority on the list of the Innu Nation's membership and under the two band councils that the hiring process for the Innu will be built in," said Innu Nation Grand Chief Joseph Riche.
The Innu and Ottawa initialled a financial agreement that clears another hurdle toward a land claim deal between the Innu, Newfoundland and Labrador and the federal government.
The financial settlement was signed Monday in Ottawa. Officials said the amount of money in the deal won't be disclosed until the land claim agreement has been completed.
The next step will be for negotiators to finalize minor details of the agreement-in-principle in the next few weeks and secure the internal approvals to sign it, according to provincial government news release.
"A successful ratification vote by the Innu people of Labrador on the agreement-in-principle, lower Churchill hydroelectric project Impacts and Benefits Agreement and Upper Churchill Redress Agreement is another step towards support for the Lower Churchill development," said the release.
Newfoundland and Labrador Aboriginal Affairs Minister Patty Pottle said the Labrador Innu Nation is preparing to bring the agreement between the province and the Innu to a ratification vote.
According to the Nov. 18 deal between Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia to develop Muskrat Falls, the Innu will acquire five per cent of royalties, as well as have first crack at local jobs.
There are about 2,400 Innu living in the Labrador communities of Sheshatshiu and Natuashish.