|Background to the Negotiation
The CTFN first began working towards the recognition of rights to land and culture in 1902, when then Chief Jim Boss wrote to the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs seeking recognition of his people’s land and culture. In 1973 then Chief Elijah Smith petitioned the government of Canada alongside leaders of other Yukon chiefs for formal recognition of Aboriginal rights in the Yukon. In 1980 the Council for Yukon Indians was formed, amalgamating a number of different Yukon organisations, to represent all Yukon First Nations in land rights claims. In May 1993, the Yukon Umbrella Final Agreement was signed by the Council for Yukon Indians, the government of Canada and the government of the Yukon. This established the framework by which negotiations of final and self-government agreements would be negotiated.
In 1996, the CTFN entered into tripartite negotiations with provincial and federal governments. The Final and Self-Government Agreements were recommended to all parties, and ratified by the CTFN on 28 May 2005.
The Agreement recognises that the CTFN has traditional decision making institutions and practices, and that these structures can be integrated into contemporary forms of government. The agreement acknowledges the need for certainty in the relationship between the government of Canada and the CTFN, and in doing so recognises that there exists a special relationship between members of the First Nation and the land, a relationship that is manifested in the cultural, political and economic distinctiveness of the CTFN. The agreement recognises the paramountcy of the well-being of these institutions in the ongoing survival of the First Nation, and recognises self-government as a means in achieving this.
The Agreement does not affect the identity of CTFN citizens as Aboriginal people of Canada, nor any claim, right, title or interest of the CTFN or its citizens as citizens of Canada.
The agreement grants legislative power to CTFN over all matters relating to the administration and management of the Nation. More specifically, the agreement grants legislative power to the CTFN for matters including, but not limited to:
spiritual and cultural beliefs and practices;
Tlingit and Tagish languages;
provision of health care on settlement land;
provision of social and welfare services on settlement land;
guardianship, custody, care and placement of Carcross/Tagish First Nation children;
provision of education programs;
inheritance, wills, intestacy and administration of estates;
dispute resolution mechanisms; and
The Agreement also outlines the regime for the management, administration of all land settled during the negotiations for the Final Agreement.
From an administrative perspective, the agreement provides for the development of a CTFN constitution, outlining rights and responsibilities of members of the community, and the criteria for inclusion in the CTFN. It also establishes mechanisms for the transfer of funds from the government of Canada for the implementation of the agreement. The agreement can only be altered with the consent of all parties. The agreement was then brought into effect by the Yukon First Nations Self-Government Act 2005 (Canada) and the First Nations (Yukon) Self-Government Act 2005 (Yukon). |