Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Agreement
|Date: ||25 August 2003|
|Sub Category:||Comprehensive Land Claims Agreement (Canada) | Self-Government Agreement (Canada)|
|State/Country:||Northwest Territories, Canada|
|Northwest Territory north of Yellowknife between the Great Slave and Great Bear Lakes, bordering Nunuvat.|
|Subject Matter:||Compensation | Cultural Heritage | Economic Development | Education | Employment and Training | Land Settlement | Recognition Agreement / Acknowledgement | Self Government|
|Summary Information: |
|The Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Agreement was signed on 25 August 2003, exactly 82 years after Treaty 11 was signed by Chief Monfwi in 1921. The Agreement was signed by representatives of the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) and the Government of Canada.
The Tlicho Agreement is the first combined land claim and self-government agreement in the Northwest Territories and follows from the Dogrib Comprehensive Land Claim and Self-Government Agreement-in-Principle which was signed in January 2000. The Dogrib preferred to use the name Tlicho, which means Dogrib in their language, to identify themselves and for the title to the final Agreement.
The Agreement had been initialled by the Chief Negotiators of the Tlicho Agreement in September 2002. The Agreement was then offered up for public comment and feedback. A period of information exchange followed during which the Chief Negotiators met with Aboriginal groups, interest groups and the general public. During this period also, negotiations took place between the Tlicho and the Treaty 8 Dene and Deh Cho people with respect to a number of overlap/boundary issues arising out of the Tlicho Agreement. Agreements were reached with both of these groups in the Autumn of 2002. The Tlicho Agreement was revised as a result of these overlap agreements and the revised agreement was initialled by the Chief Negotiators in March 2003.
A process of ratification by all three parties to the Agreement then took place from March 2003 and which led to all parties signing the Agreement in August 2003. Ratification by the Tlicho took the form of a vote by eligible voters in June 2003, 84 percent of eligible voters voting in favour of the Tlicho Agreement. The Tlicho Agreement sets out the criteria by which people can become eligible voters.
The Tlicho Agreement came into effect in 2005 (see Palmer and Tehan 2006: 68, 92).
The Tlicho Agreement creates the Tlicho Government and gives the Tlicho title to 39,000 square kilometres of land, including the subsurface resources. This land surrounds the four Tlicho communities of Behcho Ko (Rae-Edzo), Wha Ti (Lac la Martre), Gameti (Rae Lakes) and Wekweti (Snare Lakes). The Tlicho Government will, over the years, receive approximately (CDN) $100 million together with an annual share of resource royalties from development in the Mackenzie Valley.
|Detailed Information: |
|The Tlicho Agreement is a lands claims agreement within the meaning of s 35 of the Canadian Constitution Act 1982. It is therefore protected by the Constitution.
The Tlicho Agreement acknowledges the following:
‘the Tlicho is an Aboriginal people of Canada that has used and occupied lands in and adjacent to the Northwest Territories from time immemorial;
‘Treaty 11 was signed at Fort Rae on August 22, 1921 …;
‘at the signing of the Treaty, Chief Monfwi described the Tlicho traditional use area known to the Tlicho as Mowhi Gogha De Nutlee [described in the Agreement]…;
‘the Tlicho continue to use Mowhi Gogha De Nutlee;
‘Wek’eezhii [described in the Agreement] has been identified as an area appropriate for the management of resources under the Agreement;
‘the Constitution Act, 1982 recognizes and affirms the existing Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada;
‘the parties have negotiated this Agreement in order to define and provide certainty in respect of rights of the Tlicho relating to land, resources and self-government;’
The Tlicho Agreement contains the following provisions:
These provisions give certainty to the rights and obligations of the Tlicho Government and of Tlicho citizens. In particular the Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Tlicho and individual Tlicho citizens are recognized; Tlicho citizens are still citizens of Canada and enjoy the same rights and benefits as other citizens, as well as their rights to access federal programs for status and non-status Indians and Metis people; the Indian Act no longer applies to Tlicho citizens; the rights and benefits under the Tlicho Agreement are for the Tlicho as a whole and do not create individual rights; annual treaty payments under Treaty 11 are to continue; the Tlicho Agreement does not affect the Aboriginal or treaty rights of any other Aboriginal people; rights can be shared between the Tlicho Government and other Aboriginal people;
Ratification process and enrolment (ch 4):
The Agreement has no effect until ratified by all parties. Ratification by the Governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories is by way of signature and the passing of relevant legislation by both jurisdictions. For the Tlicho ratification is by means of approval by the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council, a ratification vote by eligible voters and the signing of the Agreement by the Executive of the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council. The Agreement states that only those Tlicho who are ‘eligible’ voters are able to vote and sets out rules for who can register as an eligible voter.
Implementation (ch 5):
At least for the initial 10 years of the operation of the Agreement, an implementation plan has been prepared. This plan sets out the obligations and activities of each party under the Agreement and their respective funding obligations. The implementation plan is not part of the Agreement and, except as otherwise provided, does not create binding legal obligations on the parties. Under the Agreement an implementation committee is set up to ‘oversee the implementation of the Agreement’. The committee is made up of one person from each of the three parties to the Agreement.
Dispute Resolution (ch 6):
Provision is made for resolution of disputes between the parties to be attempted by way of discussion and mediation before a court process is invoked.
Tlicho Government (ch 7):
Once legislation is passed by both the Canadian and the Northwest Territories Governments, the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council, together with the Dog Rib Rae band, the Whati First Nation band, the Gameti First Nation band and the Dechi Laot’i First Nations band will be replaced by the Tlicho Government. The Tlicho Government is a legal entity and has powers to pass and enforce its own wide range of laws. It can own resources, receive tax revenues and protect resources, Tlicho language and culture, heritage and wildlife. The Tlicho people also have their own Constitution which comes into effect when the Tlicho Government takes over. The Constitution sets out the rights and freedoms of Tlicho citizens and provides the rules for the election of the Tlicho Government and for keeping the Government accountable.
The Tlicho Government must be made up of at least a Grand Chief who is elected by Tlicho citizens, the Chief of each Tlicho community government and one representative of each Tlicho community who is elected by the residents of that community.
Under an Intergovernmental Services Agreement services such as health, education, welfare, family and social services will continue to be provided by Canada and the Northwest Territories.
A separate Financing Agreement will be entered into relating to the money required to run the Tlicho Government, its programs and services. This Financing Agreement is not part of the Agreement but will legally bind the Canadian Government and the Tlicho Government.
Tlicho Community Government (Ch 8):
Under Northwest Territories law new Tlicho community governments of Behchoko, Wati, Gameti and Wekweeti will be set up to replace the four existing municipal style governments. Elections will be held for the position of Chief and no fewer than four Councillors for each community government. A community government has power to enact laws for: the operation and internal management of the community government; borrowing money; administration and granting of interests in Tlicho community lands; the management, use, protection and planning of lands; public order, peace and safety; housing for residents; by-law enforcement; intoxicants; local transportation; business licensing and regulation; taxation and other matters of a private or local nature.
Tlicho Community Lands (Ch 9):
The Tlicho community government will have vested in it freehold title to all lands in a community government area, with the exception of certain leases and private parcels. The government will not own mineral rights. Once the Agreement takes effect no mineral exploration or mining will take place on Tlicho community lands. A Tlicho community government cannot sell community land, but may lease it.
Other provisions (chs 9-26):
These provisions cover the following:
Rights to harvest wildlife;
Right to compensation in the event of damage to wildlife or harvesting activities;
The management of wildlife harvesting and the establishment of the Wek’heezhii Renewable Resources Board;
Management of trees, forest and plants on Tlicho lands which are all owned by the Tlicho Government;
Right to harvest within any new national park, if ever one should be created on Tlicho lands;
The right of the Tlicho Government to be consulted if the Canadian or Northwest Territories Governments ever create a protected area within Tlicho lands;
Tlicho Government’s responsibility for heritage resources on Tlicho lands;
Access by non-Tlicho citizens to Tlicho lands;
Expropriation of Tlicho lands;
Water rights and management, such that the Tlicho First Nation has the exclusive right to use the waters on or flowing through Tlicho lands;
Land and water regulation;
Tlicho Government’s right to be consulted prior to any development of sub-surface resources;
Compensation in the region of (CDN) $252 million will be paid over a period of 15 years. However approximately $27 million will be used to repay negotiation loans;
Rights to mineral royalties from mining in the Mackenzie Valley;
Economic benefits for the Tlicho including a training package worth $5 million;