Indian Claims Commission

Indian Claims Commission

October 20, 2005 11:48 ET

Blood Tribe-Kainaiwa Claim Resolved With ICC's Mediation Assistance

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 20, 2005) - The Indian Claims Commission (ICC) today has issued its mediation report regarding the resolution of a claim dating back more than a century that was submitted for review under the federal government's specific claims process in 1995.

The Blood Tribe has a population of 9,656, of whom 7,304 live on the reserve, located 195 km south of Calgary, Alberta. The Blood Tribe's claim, submitted to the Minister of Indian Affairs in April 1995, maintained that the 1889 Akers surrender was invalid and that no compensation was paid for the land taken. The surrendered land was important to the Tribe since it was part of the traditional wintering grounds and burial site of the Kainaiwa people and an important location for the gathering of many items used for nutritional, medicinal and spiritual purposes.

The report makes a number of observations and recommendations. These include the need to carefully assess requirements for costly appraisals and loss-of-use studies; the need to add a clause to contracts for such studies that allows for altered payment schedules if the studies are stopped or delayed; and use of the ICC's expertise with negotiations across the country to share information on how different federal negotiators interpret various policy provisions and information that may help to overcome impasses.

In December 1995, Canada agreed to negotiate the portion of the claim dealing with lack of compensation. It was settled in August 1996. In June 1997, the Tribe asked the ICC to conduct an inquiry into the outstanding portion of the claim dealing with the validity of the surrender. Canada accepted the claim for negotiation in April 1998, on the basis that Canada had not properly obtained the consent of the adult, male members of the Tribe to the surrender.

As Chief Commissioner, Renee Dupuis points out, "The Commission was pleased to carry out its full mandate in this case: completion of an inquiry and provision of mediation services to facilitate resolution of the claim."

The Commission's role included chairing the negotiation sessions, providing an accurate record of the discussions, following up on undertakings, mediating disputes at the request of the parties and coordinating the various land appraisals and loss-of-use studies undertaken by the parties. These services undoubtedly had a positive effect on the process and ultimate outcome of the claim. The settlement agreement, providing for $3.55 million in compensation, was ratified by the Tribe in November 2003 and signed by the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs on March 31, 2005.

The Indian Claims Commission was established in 1991. Its mandate is: to inquire, at the request of a First Nation, into specific land claims that have been rejected by the federal government or accepted claims where the First Nation disputes the compensation criteria being considered in negotiations; and to provide mediation services at the request of the parties for claims in negotiation. Since 1991, the ICC has completed 65 inquiries and contributed mediation services in 42 claims processes.

This news release and the report can be found on the Indian Claims Commission web site at www.indianclaims.ca.

The Commission's June 1999 report, Blood Tribe / Kainaiwa: 1889 Akers Surrender Inquiry can be found online at www.indianclaims.ca.

Contact Information

  • Brigitte Poullet
    (613) 947-0754