The Gwich’in Tribal Council in the Northwest Territories has launched a Supreme Court case against the N.W.T. and federal governments over the devolution Agreement in Principle (AIP), which was signed a year ago.

The aboriginal organization says it was not properly consulted in the negotiation process.

This lawsuit comes after the Gwich'in leadership, members of the Legislative Assembly and the territory’s premier met in Inuvik, N.W.T., last month.

The goal of that meeting was to improve the relationships between the council and the territory. But it seems those talks were not successful.

"What we said all along is that the AIP didn’t consider the Gwich’in interest and more than that they didn’t consult with us," said Richard Nerysoo, president of the council.

The council is calling on both the federal government and the Government of the Northwest Territories to admit they failed when it came to including aboriginal governments in devolution negotiations.

The council wants the Supreme Court to order both governments to consult with the Gwich’in Tribal Council and make a new AIP.

"This seems to be the only way that our interests and rights get protected. It seems nobody is interested in listening to what we have to say. This is the only vehicle that is available to us right now," said Nerysoo.


Richard Nerysoo, president of the Gwich'in Tribal Council, said the federal and territorial governments never consulted with the council when they signed the devolution Agreement in Principle. (CBC)

The council says they've been working on launching this court case for the last year and are inviting other aboriginal groups in the territory to join them.

N.W.T. premier Bob McLeod was unavailable for comment, but his office said in a release that he spoke about devolution Wednesday in a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.