Indian Claims Commission

Indian Claims Commission

October 20, 2005 14:44 ET

Keeseekoowenin Claim Resolved With ICC Mediation Assistance

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 20, 2005) - The Indian Claims Commission (ICC) today issued its mediation report regarding the successful settlement of a 6.9 million dollars specific claim by the Keeseekoowenin First Nation that is based on events that occurred 70 years ago.

The Keeseekoowenin First Nation is situated 278 km northwest of Winnipeg, Manitoba. The band has 913 members, 671 of whom live on reserve. The First Nation alleged that land purchased adjacent to its fishing station, Indian Reserve (IR) 61A, was illegally expropriated in 1935 to create Riding Mountain National Park. In December 1994, it submitted its claim to the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs who accepted the claim for negotiation in May 1997. In October 2002, the parties asked the ICC to assist them in reaching an agreement.

The ICC joined the negotiations table as facilitator and mediator and suggested the process-agreed to by both parties-of "shuttle mediation". In these sessions, the mediator meets separately with each party so that the only direct communication is with the mediator, who relays information, defines issues and suggests possible solutions to the participants, who remain in separate rooms.

The method proved successful, resulting in the general principles of an agreement by March 2003. The ICC continued to facilitate the process and on March 14, 2005, Canada signed an agreement providing $6,999,900 in compensation to the First Nation.

Chief Commissioner, Renee Dupuis, acknowledges that when the ICC was asked for mediation assistance, relations between the parties were at a low ebb and "further movement in the process seemed impossible." She further notes that, "in this case, the parties relied on the knowledge and experience of the ICC when they agreed to shuttle mediation. After being stalled for many years, they were quickly able to find a resolution to the impasse and move on to reach a settlement that was acceptable to both sides."

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

  • Indian Claims Commission
    Brigitte Poullet
    (613) 947-0754