Dehcho First Nations to debate devolution this week

Grand Chief Herb Norwegian says the First Nations were close to signing on to the devolution deal with the territorial government last summer and have been taking more time to see what the agreement would mean to them.

Grand chief says sticking point remains the amount of land they would control

Dehcho First Nations leaders are gathering together this week to discuss whether to sign on as parties to the N.W.T. devolution agreement.

Grand Chief Herb Norwegian says the First Nations were close to signing on with the territorial government last summer. 

Instead, they took more time to see what the agreement would mean to them.

"In the end of the day, what the Deh Cho would end up with is one contiguous piece of land that would rightfully belong to the Deh Cho and whatever happens around it we would be able to have control, have say over what happens to the resources that are around us."

The devolution agreement went into effect April 1, 2014 but aboriginal groups may still sign on. That will allow them to receive a portion of the quarter of the resource revenues the territory has begun collecting. Aboriginal groups will split approximately $15 million dollars from the first post-devolution year. 

The two regions with unsettled claims, the Akaitcho and the Dehcho, have yet to sign on to the agreement.

Norwegian says the main sticking point for the Dehcho is the amount of land they want control over

He says it's more than what the Tlicho and other groups have negotiated for.  

He adds that the Dehcho has significantly higher membership than those groups. 

The meetings begin Monday in Fort Simpson.


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