Carcross/Tagish First Nation signs new deal with Ottawa
Chief Danny Cresswell says federal transfers will increase to $9.5M a year
The Carcross/Tagish First Nation has signed a new funding agreement with the federal government that will increase its transfers by an estimated $2 million a year.
The previous financial agreement expired three years ago. This agreement is set to last six years.
Chief Danny Cresswell says under the new agreement federal transfers will increase change to $9.5 million a year from about $7.3 million.
Cresswell said the Carcross/Tagish was initially offered a non-negotiable agreement. The First Nation refused to sign, because it says treaties obligate the federal government to negotiate directly.
On Monday, Cresswell thanked CTFN members for maintaining a united front during negotiations. The First Nation is governed by six ancestral clans.
"You don't always get everything through a negotiation, but you get nothing if you don't try. And that's what our people did," Cresswell said.
"It took three extra years after this funding agreement expired. But nobody walked away from the table. As tough as it was — we went through a couple of their ministers — we got it done. That's what unity will do for us. When we stand together not only as one First Nation but as all First Nations. We need to stand together and we can move mountains."
Federal transfers cover many costs
The Carcross-Tagish First Nation represents about 1,000 members. Cresswell says the funding provides for programs in health, post-secondary education, justice and community wellness including alcohol and drug programs.
The CTFN also has a temporary financial assistance program, which is a direct subsidy for members with low incomes.
Creswell says federal transfers probably account for 70 per cent of the First Nation's total resources with other funding provided through the territorial government, proposal-driven grant funding and commerce.
Yukon MP Ryan Leef praised the First Nation for its economic development which includes a focus on tourism and trades education.
"Carcross is paving the way," Leef said.
"Other people are looking at what you are doing to model what you're doing here. They'll be looking at this financial transfer agreement with admiration and respect."
Cresswell says the deal doesn't preclude further negotiations. The CTFN is still campaigning to assume more responsibilities including control of child welfare and family services.