Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

November 30, 2007 09:17 ET

Land Claim Settlement Provides Economic Boost for Metepenagiag Mi'kmaq Nation

METEPENAGIAG (RED BANK), NEW BRUNSWICK--(Marketwire - Nov. 30, 2007) - The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and non-Status Indians, and Noah Augustine, Chief of the Metepenagiag Mi'kmaq Nation (MMN), today marked the settlement of specific claims regarding the Hosford Lot and Indian Reserve #7 dating back to the early 1900s.

"I'm pleased to be part of this event, which recognizes our joint success and demonstrates that finding solutions through negotiations works in the best interest of all Canadians," stated Minister Strahl. "Settlements bring hope and new economic opportunities to First Nation communities and can create economic spin-offs in neighbouring municipalities, helping to foster stronger relationships."

The agreement resolves outstanding grievances related to approximately 164 acres of reserve land that had been taken from Indian Reserve #7 in 1906 and Big Hole Track Indian Reserve #8 in 1904, without the benefit of a surrender from the First Nation.

"The settlement of this land claim is a crucial building block in our plans for developing an economy at Metepenagiag", stated Chief Noah Augustine. "This agreement will allow us to purchase new lands in areas more conducive to business, and in partnership with private sector interests, allowing us to generate own source revenues for the overall benefit of our community."

Under this agreement, the Government of Canada will provide approximately
$1.4 million in compensation to the First Nation. The MMN may use these funds to purchase up to 300 acres of replacement lands, subject to terms and conditions of the federal Additions to Reserves Policy. These lands can be purchased on a willing-seller/willing-buyer basis over the next 30 years, within the land selection areas that have been negotiated. Once converted to reserve lands, they will be used by the community for business purposes.

Located approximately 25 km from Newcastle, New Brunswick, the First Nation has a population over 520 people both on and off reserve. During a referendum held on June 14, 2007, 70 per cent of the eligible Metepenagiag members who voted cast their votes, in favour of the agreement.

As demonstrated by today's announcement and the introduction earlier this week of the proposed Specific Claims Tribunal Act in the House of Commons, Canada is committed to making progress in resolving the outstanding specific claims of First Nations. The introduction of the legislation delivers on a key commitment made in Canada's Specific Claims Action Plan. The measures outlined in this plan are designed to speed up the specific claims process in a fair and transparent manner so that First Nations and all Canadians can more quickly realize the benefits of negotiated settlements.

This release and other background information are available on the Internet at www.inac.gc.ca

Contact Information

  • Minister's Office: Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
    Philippe Mailhot
    Press Secretary
    819-997-0002
    or
    Media Relations: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
    819-953-1160
    or
    Metepenagiag Mi'kmaq Nation:
    Noah Augustine, Chief
    506-836-6106