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Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement 1994

Sub Category:Comprehensive Land Claims Agreement (Canada)
State/Country:Northwest Territories, Canada
Alternative Names:
  • Sahtu Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement 1994
  • Subject Matter:Land Management | Mining and Minerals | Land Settlement | Native Title | Compensation | Land Transaction | Cultural Heritage | Economic Development | Recognition of Traditional Rights and Interests | Land Management | Environmental Heritage
    Summary Information:
    The Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement (the Agreement) was signed in Tulita (formerly Fort Norman) on 6 September 1993 by the Government of Canada and the Sahtu Tribal Council (representing the Dene and Metis people of Sahtu region in the Mackenzie Valley). The Sahtu Dene and Metis Land Claim Settlement Act came into effect on 23 June 1994. The Agreement transfers title of 41, 437 square kilometres of land in the Northwest Territories to the Sahtu Dene and Metis and provides subsurface rights to 1,813 square kilometres of that land. It also provides for capital transfer of $75 million (in 1990 Canadian dollars) over a period of 15 years as well as a share of resource royalties collected annually by the government. Other key aspects of the Agreement include hunting, fishing and trapping rights, participation in public government institutions for resource management and land use, and provision for negotiation of self-government agreements. The Agreement aims to provide certainty with respect to land ownership and use of resources. In exchange for such rights, the Sahtu Dene and Metis relinquish any other rights claimed elsewhere in Canada.
    Detailed Information:
    The Agreement was negotiated to achieve the following objectives:
  • To set final rights of land ownership and use of resources;
  • To acknowledge and encourage the way of life of the Sahtu Dene and Metis people as based on their cultural and economic relationship with the land;
  • To encourage the self-sufficiency and full economic participation of the Sahtu Dene and Metis people;
  • To provide financial compensation, land and economic benefits;
  • To recognise wildlife harvesting rights;
  • To provide decision-making rights with respect to wildlife management, conservation and water and resource use; and
  • To ensure the opportunity to negotiate self-government agreements.

    The benefits and terms of the Agreement apply to the Sahtu settlement area which covers approximately 280,238 square kilometres and includes Great Bear Lake. To benefit from the Agreement, individuals living in the settlement area or outside it must enrol as participants with the Enrolment Board. In order to do so, they must be Canadian citizens and a Sahtu Dene or Metis person as defined by Chapter 4 of the Agreement. An Aboriginal person who is not a Sahtu Dene or Metis but who lives within the settlement area may be eligible via a 'community acceptance' procedure. Persons enrolled pursuant to other comprehensive land claim agreements are ineligible.

    Chapter 5 of the Agreement requires that the signatories enter into self-government negotiations. A Framework Agreement outlining the principles, process and agenda for such negotiations is appended to the Agreement (see Appendix B). The provisions of any self-government agreements are not to be inconsistent with the terms of this Agreement nor shall they prejudice the rights of Sahtu Dene and Metis people as Canadian citizens. The objectives of self-government agreements 'shall be to describe the nature, character and extent of self-government, and the relationship between government and Sahtu institutions and to accommodate self-government within the framework of public government.'

    Dispute Resolution

    Chapter 6 provides comprehensive procedures for dispute resolution between the Parties and for the establishment of an Arbitration Panel. The Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories are to appoint at least 1 representative each to the Panel while the Sahtu Tribal Land Council is to make at least 2 appointments. The Panel is to resolve disputes in accordance with the Agreement.

    Capital Transfer & Resource Royalty Sharing
    Chapter 8 sets out the procedure for capital transfer from Canada to the Sahtu Tribal Land Council in accordance with Schedule I to the Chapter. Payments are to take place over a period of 15 years and will total $75 million (in 1990 Canadian dollars). Chapter 10 sets out the procedure for the sharing of resource royalties which the government receives annually from the Mackenzie Valley. The government is to pay 7.5% of the first $2 million received annually and 1.5% of any additional royalties received for that year. Payments will be made in quarterly instalments.

    Land and Water
    Chapter 19 establishes that the Sahtu Dene and Metis are to receive title in fee simple to 39, 624 square kilometres of land. 1,813 square kilometres will carry rights to subsurface resources. Sahtu lands will be privately owned, not reserves under the Indian Act. The land will be owned collectively. Settlement land will refer to land outside of municipal boundaries while Sahtu municipal land will refer to that within. Settlement land may never be sold, mortgaged or seized under court order. It will enjoy special tax treatment and where expropriated by government, will be replaced such that its amount is never reduced. Sahtu municipal land by contrast, may be sold or mortgaged. If sold or granted to an individual, it ceases to be 'Sahtu land' and the provisions of the Agreement no longer apply to it. Municipal land may be expropriated with the consent of the Cabinet of the Government of Canada or the executive of the Government of the Northwest Territories. Chapter 21 sets out provisions for access to Sahtu lands by government, members of the public and commercial operators. Chapter 20 establishes that any person engaging in commercial activity on settlement land requiring the use of water will have the right to its use subject to the provisions of the Agreement and to legislation. The Sahtu Dene and Metis people have the right to have waters which are on, flowing through or adjacent to their land, remain substantially unaltered in terms of quality, quantity and flow. The Agreement makes provision for the establishment of a Land Use Planning Board and a Land and Water Board to regulate land and water use including that on Sahtu land (see Chapter 25).

    Wildlife Harvesting and Management
    The Agreement recognises the hunting, fishing and trapping rights of the Sahtu Dene and Metis people who have exclusive rights to harvest wildlife on Sahtu land. Chapter 13 comprehensively details such rights. A local Renewable Resources Council may however, on application, permit others to harvest wildlife. The Council will promote local participation in conservation, harvesting studies, research and wildlife management. Chapter 13 also outlines conservation measures, the delegation of 'special harvesting areas' and provisions for regulation of commercial opportunities. Chapter 18 deals with compensation for wildlife harvesting.

    Subsurface Resources
    Chapter 22 deals with the development of subsurface resources. The Sahtu Dene and Metis can decide on matters of exploration or development of resources they own. Where the Crown retains ownership of subsurface resources, it shall continue to manage them according to government policy.

    Heritage Resources
    Heritage resources management and policies are to respect the cultural values of the participants. The Sahtu Tribal Council is to have active participation in the conservation and management of such resources and will have responsibility for managing Sahtu historic and burial sites. It will be represented on any boards, committees or agencies involved in the protection of heritage resources and will be consulted as to their establishment (see Chapter 26).

    Other Claims
    Chapter 28 refers to reciprocal rights of harvesting with the Inuvialuit and Inuit peoples and establishes that the Sahtu Tribal Land Council may, subject to certain conditions, enter into any such arrangements with adjacent Aboriginal groups.

    Pursuant to Chapter 29, the Agreement is to be implemented in accordance with the Implementation Plan which accompanies it. The Implementation Plan describes the activities and obligations required to fulfil the Agreement. The Agreement also provides for the establishment of an Implementation Committee which is to operate for a minimum period of 10 years.

  • Related Entries

  • Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement Implementation Plan 1993
  • Organisation
  • Government of Canada - Signatory
  • Sahtu Dene Council - Signatory
  • Sahtu Secretariat Inc
  • Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board
  • Metis National Council
  • Legislation
  • Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (1988)
  • Indian Acts
  • People
  • Inuit of Canada
  • Inuvialuit People
  • Sahtu Dene People

  • References

    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (1994) Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement
    Department of Justice Canada (1988) Mackenzie Valley Resources Management Act (1998) c. 25
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (1994) Highlights: Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (1994) Plain Facts on Land and Self-Government
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (1993) Implementation Plan for the Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement


    Comprehensive Land Claims Agreement (Canada)

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