Indigenous

Long Plain First Nation and Canada settle 100-year-old land sales dispute for $32M

An Ojibway and Dakota community in southern Manitoba has settled a more than 100-year-old dispute with the federal government over land sales.

First Nation voted in favour of settlement agreement in August

Long Plain First Nation Chief Dennis Meeches speaks at an announcement in Winnipeg in September. (Ian Froese/CBC)

An Ojibway and Dakota community in southern Manitoba has settled a more than 100-year-old dispute with the federal government over land sales.

Canada agreed to nearly $32 million in compensation and the settlement provides the option for Long Plain First Nation, about 100 kilometres west of Winnipeg, to acquire up to 708 hectares of land back to the community, according to a news release on Tuesday. 

Long Plain First Nation submitted the specific claim in 1999 concerning the sale of reserve land in 1916, whereby Canada failed to administer the land sales according to the terms of the surrender. The claim was accepted for negotiations in September 2011. 

"It's a relief to close a settlement agreement out," said Chief Dennis Meeches. 

"Today, we're having a ceremony to close this part of the claim."

The agreement reached by Canada and Long Plain First Nation was ratified by the community in August and formally completed by Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller on Nov. 8.

"As we renew our nation-to-nation relationship, we are committed to working together and rebuilding trust, and we continue to address past wrongs for a better tomorrow," Miller said in the news release.

Members of Long Plain First Nation will benefit from a trust annuity, a tool normally used in estate planning to minimize taxes on large financial transactions to family members. Individuals will also receive a share of annual distribution money.

"It's really unfortunate that we have to fight tooth and nail to convert properties, you know, that are basically originally ours to begin with," said Meeches.

"We do need land back. People in general have really benefited in this province, right at the expense of Indigenous people."

The community still has two other specific claims outstanding: an agricultural claim and a larger one stemming from the Portage Band, which was separated into the Sandy Bay Ojibway, Long Plain and Swan Lake First Nations.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Francine Compton is the Assignment Producer for CBC Indigenous. She is Anishinaabe from the Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation in Manitoba. Before joining CBC she was the executive producer of national news at APTN. You can find her on Twitter @FrancineCompton

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