The Dene Nation found out this week that they, along with every other federally-funded aboriginal organization in Canada, will see funding cuts of at least 10 per cent.
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada announced on Tuesday changes to the funding formula for all national and regional aboriginal representative organizations that will take effect in 2014.
Under the new formula, core funding for national organizations will be cut by 10 per cent, while regional organizations face either a 10 per cent cut to their core funding or a ceiling of $500,000.
But Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus says legally Canada cannot make the cuts.
"Canada doesn't have the authority to do what they are attempting to do," he said. "They are proposing to make unilaterally-made decisions. That money is legally there in a treasury board for our purposes and they can’t just say 'Hey, in two years, we will cut you.’ We won’t let that happen."
Other Northern aboriginal organizations including Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Council of Yukon First Nations are also affected.
Erasmus said he is speaking with other chiefs across the country about how to address this latest round of cuts.