Métis launch land claim for 120,000 square kilometres in northern Saskatchewan, Alberta
Legal action intended to compel Ottawa to negotiate out of court
Métis in Saskatchewan and Alberta are launching a massive land claim involving 120,000 square kilometres in a parcel that spans both provinces.
They filed a 33-page statement of claim at the Federal Court in Saskatoon on Wednesday.
"We want to be crystal clear to Canadians and to law makers," said Ron Quintal, president of the Fort McKay Métis Nation in northeastern Alberta.
"This is a long-overdue action that could have been avoided if successive governments had simply done the right thing and admitted that the scrip process deprived the Métis people of what the law promised us."
The scrip process was a federal land allotment system in the late 1800s that was supposed to give Métis between 160 and 240 acres of land.
But the Métis say abuse, mismanagement and outright fraudulent actions prevented them from getting the land.
Quintal says much of the land claimed today is in the heart of oilsands country
"I want to be equally clear to all Canadians living, working or investing in this territory — we are committed to your success and prosperity," he said.
"This is not an effort to displace anyone. In fact, we support responsible business, including resource extraction."