The Fort William First Nation and Canada are negotiating a resolution to the First Nation's Neebing Specific Claim. Negotiations lead to “win-win” solutions that bring closure, benefits and certainty for all Canadians.
Overview of the Neebing Claim
The settlement of this claim will resolve a historic grievance dating back to the late 1850s. The Neebing Specific Claim relates to surrender of approximately 6,400 acres of the western portion of the Fort William First Nation reserve in 1859. The lands were surrendered with an understanding that the property would be surveyed and sold for the use and benefit of the First Nation. The basis of this claim is that when the lands did not sell, Canada should have asked if the First Nation wished to have the lands returned.
The claim was submitted in 2000 and negotiations began in 2007. Negotiators for Canada and the Fort William First Nation have recently concluded talks on a settlement proposal for the Neebing Surrender claim. This is an important step in the process, which brings the parties closer to achieving final resolution.
Canada has made an offer to settle the claim and the First Nation has agreed to put this offer to a vote by its members. The proposed settlement includes approximately $22 million in financial compensation. A settlement will not have a land component; this claim is for financial compensation only.
Research was done during the negotiations to help determine how much compensation would be fair to resolve the claim. The proposed settlement value was ultimately the result of negotiation between the parties.
In return for this compensation, the First Nation will provide Canada with a release that ensures this claim can never be re-opened. Settlements must bring closure for all concerned.
Next Steps in the Process
A number of steps need to be completed before the claim can be settled. The negotiators for Canada and the First Nation have also completed the work to draft the legal text of a Settlement Agreement.
First Nation members will have the opportunity to say yes or no to the proposed Settlement Agreement. This vote will take place on December 4, 2010. If a favourable vote is achieved, the Settlement Agreement must also be approved by Canada.