Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

March 17, 2008 16:51 ET

Canada, Seton Lake Indian Band and Province of British Columbia Reach Final Agreement on Settlement

SETON LAKE INDIAN BAND, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - March 17, 2008) - The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians, Chief Larry Casper Jr. of the Seton Lake Indian Band and the Honourable Michael de Jong, British Columbia Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation are pleased to announce a final agreement on a longstanding claim dating back to the early 1900s.

"Settlement agreements not only promote reconciliation and respect, but they bring hope, certainty and new economic opportunities to First Nations," stated Minister Strahl. "I am pleased to announce the completion of this final agreement with the Seton Lake Indian Band and the Province of British Columbia. By working together through respectful negotiation, we have achieved a balanced solution of a very longstanding claim."

Under the agreement, the Seton Lake Indian Band will receive $600,000 from Canada and 31.6 acres of land from the Province which Minister Strahl will recommend be added to the reserve under the department's Additions to Reserve Policy. If the Band acquires other lands in the area, the Minister will, subject to the terms of the Additions to Reserve Policy, which requires consultation with local government, recommend the addition of up to another 168 acres of rural land in the area.

"This agreement is only the beginning to reconciliation with both levels of Government," stated Chief Larry Casper. He added, "We will seek to resolve other issues that impact our community. However, we view this agreement as a step in the right direction, and thank the parties for their work in its conclusion, as well as the community for its ratification."

"This agreement between British Columbia, Seton Lake, and Canada is proof that we are building a New Relationship with First Nations, based on respect, recognition, and reconciliation," said British Columbia's Minister for Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, Michael de Jong. "Through negotiation, historic wrongs can be made right; we are proving that in British Columbia."

The claim itself deals with two parcels of land that had been identified for the use and benefit of the First Nation and which were later cut-off pursuant to the McKenna-McBride Agreement (1912) and the report of the Royal Commission on Indian Affairs for the Province of British Columbia (1916).

The First Nation held a ratification vote on November 10, 2007 which required a simple majority to succeed - 80% per cent of eligible band members who cast their votes, voted in favour of the settlement agreement.

The Seton Lake (Shalalth) Indian Band has an approximate population of 623 members living on and off the reserve. The community is located in southwest portion of British Columbia (BC), 185 km northeast of Vancouver and 20 km west of Lillooet - on the south side of the Seton River. Shalalth, which simply means the 'lake' in the St'at'imcets (Lillooet) language is the name of Seton Lake itself.

This release, as well as information on Specific Claims is available at www.inac.gc.ca.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
    Minister Strahl's Office
    Josee Bellemare
    819-997-0002
    or
    INAC Media Relations
    819-953-1160
    or
    Seton Lake Indian Band
    Intergovernmental Affairs and Negotiations
    Rodney Louie, SNH Coordinator and Seton Lake Indian Band
    250-256-0425
    (cell) 250-256-1888
    or
    Province of British Columbia
    Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
    Deborah Bowman
    Communications Director
    250-953-3211