Tsuu T'ina members get $5,500 settlement cheques
First Nation leaders distribute half of $20-million land claim money directly to people on reserve
Every member of the Tsuu T'ina First Nation has received a share of a recent settlement for a long-standing land claim, CBC News has learned.
Half of the $20-million settlement with Ottawa will be used for economic development.
The other half has been paid out, meaning every man, woman and child on the reserve receives a cheque for $5,500 each.
Hal Eagletail and his family used the money to improve their lives, buying things many people take for granted — such as the family's first dishwasher.
"I see pride in the eyes of the parents and they fix up their homes, they get new furniture, you know, new appliances. It's really been a godsend for a lot of families."
The federal government agreed to give the nation $20 million for inadequately compensating Tsuu T'ina in the 1930s for land that was flooded by the building of the Glenmore Reservoir dam.
Distributing the money ensures that the settlement benefits all 1,800 members of the nation living on the reserve, said Cam Hantiuk, who speaks for the chief and council.
"Every individual's going to have different needs or different requirements and it's going to be up to those individuals to decide how best to use those dollars," he said.
Eagletail said settling long-standing claims with Ottawa — combined with the band's growing business ventures such as the Grey Eagle Casino — will create a brighter future for the next generation on the reserve.