Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

September 06, 2008 10:28 ET

Government of Canada Creates New Reserve in the NWT

YELLOWKNIFE, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES--(Marketwire - Sept. 6, 2008) - The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians, today announced the official creation of Salt River First Nation Indian Reserve #195, the first reserve to be established in the Northwest Territories in almost 35 years.

"The creation of this new reserve in the Northwest Territories reflects the Government of Canada's commitment to working with First Nations to settle outstanding Treaty obligations," said Minister Chuck Strahl. "This reserve will provide significant benefits to the Salt River First Nation, allowing them to pursue new economic opportunities, build infrastructure, invest in youth and develop a stronger, more prosperous community."

The creation of the Salt River First Nation Indian Reserve fulfills part of a Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE) Agreement signed by the Salt River First Nation, the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) on June 22, 2002. The initial Order in Council (OIC) creating the reserve sets apart 65 per cent of the reserve lands. Subsequent OIC's will complete the TLE agreement. The First Nation may also choose to acquire additional lands in the future with some of the $83.18 million they have already received as part of the settlement.

"This is a historic day for the Salt River First Nation," said Chief Frieda Martselos. "We are pleased to hear that this Order in Council has gone through. Our membership can move forward with a new mandate, one that sees all members treated fairly and equally under our now finalized Treaty Land Entitlement process. It is a great day for the people of the Salt River First Nation and First Nations in general. A big 'thank-you' to those who negotiated the agreement and to all the people who made it a reality."

The TLE agreement sets aside approximately 430 square kilometres (166 square miles) of reserve lands at numerous sites in and around the town of Fort Smith, as well as approximately 13 square kilometres (five square miles) of reserve lands at four sites in Wood Buffalo National Park. The reserve will be one of only three in the region, the other two being the Salt Plains Indian Reserve #195 and the Hay River Dene Indian Reserve #1.

"This is a significant day for the Salt River First Nation," said Floyd Roland, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations for the GNWT. "The GNWT supports the implementation of the Treaty Land Entitlement Agreement and the creation of the Salt River First Nation Indian Reserve. The conclusion of this agreement means that the Salt River First Nation can now focus on moving ahead and I am looking forward to working with them to build a stronger territory."

The TLE agreement fulfills commitments made to the First Nation in Treaty 8. Salt River First Nation was a signatory to Treaty 8 when it was signed in Fort Fitzgerald in 1899. Treaty 8 sets out the fundamental relationship between Salt River First Nation and the Government of Canada. Today, Salt River First Nation has approximately 835 members, many of whom reside in and around the Town of Fort Smith.

This news release is also available on the internet at www.inac.gc.ca

Contact Information

  • Minister's Office
    Josee Bellemare
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
    819-997-0002
    or
    Media Relations
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
    819-953-1160
    or
    Government of the Northwest Territories
    Ngan Trinh
    Aboriginal Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations
    867-920-6989
    ngan_trinh@gov.nt.ca