Gwich'in Tribal Council board approves self-government agreement-in-principle

The federal government and the Government of the Northwest Territories still need to approve the agreement-in-principle before it can be formally signed.
The Gwich’in Tribal Council’s board voted Wednesday to approve a self-government agreement-in-principle. (David Thurton/CBC)

The Gwich'in Tribal Council's board of directors approved its self-government agreement-in-principle at a special meeting held Wednesday.  

"We now have a key to unlock further negotiations in reaching a final self-government agreement. Going forward, this agreement-in-principle will give us the tools to begin designing what our new government will look like," Gwich'in Tribal Council President James Wilson said in a news release.

Earlier in April, the Nihtat Gwich'in Council, the organization that represents Inuvik members, said signing the self-government agreement-in-principle would be "premature." It also said it wanted to take the time to review the agreement and make sure members had input in the process. It planned on holding meetings in May with its membership and the vice-president of the Gwich'in Tribal Council, Norman Snowshoe.

The tribal council won't say how individual board members voted.

The federal government and the Government of the Northwest Territories still need to approve the agreement-in-principle before it can be formally signed.

Then negotiations begin for a final agreement, which will be voted on by all members.

"Ultimately it will be the participants of the land claim who make the final decision to vote to support or not support Gwich'in self-government," Wilson said in the release.