The Whitecap Dakota First Nation in Saskatchewan took a major step toward self-government on Thursday.

The First Nation, located 26 kilometres south of Saskatoon and with a membership of 616 people, signed an agreement-in-principle with the federal government.

This stage of paperwork is the second of four steps leading to self-government, according to the federal government. The last two stages are a final agreement and implementation.

Power over land, health, education 

Once signed, the self-government agreement will give the First Nation power over, among other things, lands and resources, the environment, taxation, health and education.

One of the key points the final agreement will settle is how much money the First Nation needs to handle its affairs.

"We look forward to working with Canada to complete negotiations and achieve self-governance for our members," said Chief Darcy Bear. 

The government and the First Nation have set a target date of 2020 to bring the final agreement to a community vote.