Labrador Innu land claim financial deal signed
Negotiations to finalize a land claim deal between the Labrador Innu, Newfoundland and Labrador and the federal government moved a step closer to completion Monday.
The financial settlement part of the deal was signed in Ottawa. Officials said the amount of money in the deal won't be disclosed until the land claim agreement is finalized.
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development John Duncan, Grand Chief of the Innu Nation of Labrador Joseph Riche and Deputy Grand Chief George Rich made Monday's announcement.
"[This] marks a historic step toward completion of the Innu land claim," said Riche.
"I want to acknowledge our grandfathers, our grandmothers and those Innu leaders current and past, who contributed so much to make this day possible," he said.
"For too many years we, as Innu people, were invisible to Canada. Our cries for help and support went unheard. We should all applaud this accomplishment — one that will echo in the centuries to come."
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, said a 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 Provincial 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.
There are about 2,400 Labrador Innu living in the communities of Sheshatshiu and Natuashish.