Ingraham Trail lot leases not part of Yellowknives Dene land withdrawal, says N.W.T.
Lands minister Robert C. McLeod says gov't consulted by sending letter, 'received no input' from First Nation
The N.W.T. government says it did things by the book before holding a draw for 22 cabin lot leases along Yellowknife's Ingraham Trail this summer, despite complaints from the Yellowknives Dene First Nation that it was not consulted.
The Yellowknives Dene First Nation has threatened to sue the government, saying the question of who actually owns the land the government is leasing to people through the lottery is still a matter of negotiation.
Ed Sangris, the Yellowknives Dene First Nation's chief of Dettah, says they only found about the lottery through a news release.
But Robert C. McLeod, the N.W.T.'s minister of Lands, says the territory wrote to the First Nation months before the lottery took place on July 27.
A letter that YKDFN sent to the government on July 31 says it is in response to a letter sent by the government that was dated May 27.
"Normally you would have 45 days for consultation," said McLeod.
"With this particular one, we went 60. We received no input. So we proceeded with the cabin draw."
McLeod did not mention any person-to-person meetings, and said no follow-up letter was sent to the First Nation.
"You just assume that they received the letter and didn't respond, for what reason I don't know."
McLeod added that the lands covered by the leases fall outside a land withdrawal agreement reached with the First Nation in 2006.
"There were two lots that were identified that were within that area and we eliminated those two lots. So instead of 24, there was 22 because we respected that process."
The government had hoped to approve the lease applications in September.
"We're going to proceed," said McLeod.