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Kwanlin Dün reach agreement to retain Aboriginal title on leased lands

The Kwanlin Dün First Nation is the first in Yukon to reach an agreement with the territorial government to retain Aboriginal title on developed lands.

Option now open to any Yukon First Nation with a land claim settlement, says premier

Kwanlin Dün First Nation Chief Doris Bill and Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski announce agreement Tuesday that ensures aboriginal title cannot be erased if lands are leased for commercial or residential purposes. (CBC)

The Kwanlin Dün First Nation is the first in Yukon to reach an agreement with the territorial government to retain Aboriginal title on developed lands.

Chief Doris Bill and Premier Darrell Pasloski announced the agreement Tuesday.

The territory says the Kwanlin Dün First Nation will be able to lease its land for residential and commercial purposes and when the lease expires, have the option of de-registering it at the land titles office, retaining Aboriginal title.

Bill says this means a lot to Kwanlin Dün citizens who want to get a mortgage for a home or open businesses on First Nation land.

"That's huge for the First Nation," she said. "We've waited a long time to get to this point."

Justice minister, Brad Cathers, said the approach is the first of its kind in Canada, in part because it gives lenders more security.

Pasloski said any Yukon First Nation with a land claim settlement can consider doing the same.

"The process has now been established where other First Nations could make similar amendments," he said.

Bill said her First Nation still has some paperwork to do before land parcels are made available to its citizens.

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