Indian Claims Commission

Indian Claims Commission

October 20, 2005 14:30 ET

ICC Issues Mediation Report on Touchwood Agency Claim

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 20, 2005) - The Indian Claims Commission (ICC) today issued its mediation report on the breakdown of negotiations in the Touchwood Agency Tribal Council claim. The report summarizes material submitted during the negotiations and provides the historical context of the claim.

The Touchwood Agency, located north of Regina, consists of five Saskatchewan First Nations: Day Star, Fishing Lake, Gordon, Kawacatoose, and Muskowekwan. Close to 40 per cent of the total population of 8,000 members live on the five reserves.

The First Nations claim they suffered considerable financial losses because of the mismanagement of the Agency in the early 1920s by the Indian Agent. Their claim was submitted to Indian Affairs in March 1993 and was "conditionally" accepted five years later. The First Nations and Canada met in June 1998 to discuss the conditional acceptance and the question of using the services of the ICC as facilitator. In September 2000, the Commission was asked to participate in the negotiations.

Negotiations centered on determining the extent of losses claimed by the First Nations. Despite the best efforts of the parties, they could not reach an agreement on the amount of compensation and negotiations were concluded without a resolution in March 2002. In August 2003, the Touchwood Agency asked the ICC to conduct an inquiry into the unresolved issues. That inquiry is ongoing.

Chief Commissioner, Renee Dupuis, notes in her report that the confidential nature of the negotiations prevents divulging specific details concerning the process and any problems or roadblocks encountered by the parties in the course of discussions. She states, however, that "it is worth noting why the negotiations were unable to produce a settlement," referring to the fact that "the Commission was not involved until the experts' report had been completed, and certain expectations were created which could not be met or addressed at the negotiating table."

Chief Commissioner Dupuis goes on to say that although the parties offered a number of creative solutions, "they were unable to get past the existing policies governing the resolution of specific claims."

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.

Contact Information

  • Brigitte Poullet
    (613) 947-0754