Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

January 25, 2012 12:30 ET

The Harper Government and Whitecap Dakota First Nation Celebrate Signing of Framework Agreement on Self-Government

Once finalised, the self-government agreement will support the First Nation in creating jobs and growth

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 25, 2012) - The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and Chief Darcy Bear of the Whitecap Dakota First Nation in Saskatchewan today signed a Framework Agreement to negotiate self-government for the First Nation.

"The signing of this agreement is an important milestone along a path of renewal and reconciliation," said Minister Duncan. "Self-government agreements give Aboriginal groups greater control over the decisions that affect their communities, laying the foundation for sound governance and an improved quality of life for their members."

"Governance, accountability and transparency have been the cornerstone to our continued success," said Chief Bear. "This agreement moves us another step forward in our journey to sign a self government agreement with Canada. A self government agreement will recognize the Whitecap Dakota First Nation as a government with the ability to create laws, authorities and empower our community members to break the cycle of dependence created by the Indian Act."

This Framework Agreement marks the start of a process for determining Whitecap Dakota law-making powers, including how they will manage their resources, preserve their culture and build on their successes in economic development. It will foster an autonomous and accountable First Nation government and also include arrangements to ensure harmonious relationships with other governments.

"This Agreement marks a key milestone in self-government talks with Whitecap Dakota First Nation," said Kelly Block, MP for Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar. "It shows what can be achieved when partners work together to find forward-looking solutions to enhance relationships and promote economic opportunities in First Nation communities."

The Framework Agreement sets out a process for Canada and the Whitecap Dakota First Nation to negotiate a self-government agreement. As the next step in the process, the parties will begin negotiations of an Agreement-in-Principle.

Negotiating and implementing self-government agreements is key to achieving reconciliation and rebuilding relationships with Aboriginal communities in Canada. Self-government agreements address the structure and accountability of Aboriginal governments, their law-making powers, financial arrangements and their responsibilities for providing programs and services to their members. Fostering good government and strong accountability in Aboriginal communities increases investor confidence, supports economic partnerships and can help to improve living conditions.

Whitecap Dakota First Nation is located approximately 26 km south of Saskatoon and has 562 members living on- and off-reserve.

This news release and fact sheet on self-government are also available on the Internet at: www.aandc-aadnc.gc.ca

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Contact Information

  • Minister's Office
    Jan O'Driscoll
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Honourable John Duncan
    (819) 997-0002

    Media Relations
    Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
    (819) 953-1160

    Murray Long
    Whitecap Dakota First Nation
    (306) 477-0908
    mlong@whitecapdakota.com