Eel River Bar, New Brunswick (September 9, 2011) – The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, the Honourable David Alward, Premier and Minister responsible for the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat of New Brunswick, and the Chiefs of Mi’gmag and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) First Nations of New Brunswick today signed the Mi’gmag Wolastoqiyik / New Brunswick / Canada Umbrella Agreement. The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of State for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and La Francophonie, also attended the signing ceremony.
This Umbrella Agreement establishes an effective and orderly process to help guide discussions among the parties towards the conclusion of a Framework Agreement on Aboriginal and treaty rights and self-government, and a consultation agreement.
“Canada is pleased to be a signatory to this important Agreement. It forges a strong partnership among the parties and establishes a solid foundation to help resolve mutual issues respecting Aboriginal and treaty rights,” stated Minister Duncan. “This Agreement will also help achieve our collective goal of improving the quality of life of the Mi’gmag and Wolastoqiyik in New Brunswick.”
Chief Joanna Bernard, Wolastoqiyik co-Chair of the Assembly of New Brunswick Chiefs, stated that by entering into the Umbrella Agreement, “We are following the vision of our ancestors in engaging as peoples with the Crown in wide ranging discussions. Clearly there are many issues and problems that we must address as governments. This Agreement provides one way that we can work together to protect and advance the rights of the Mi’gmag and the Wolastoqiyik in New Brunswick.”
“Signing this Agreement today is the result of hard work and dedication for everyone involved,” said Premier Alward. “Taking this initial step now means we can continue building on the positive achievements we have made with our First Nations people in the province. We are creating an environment built on trust and mutual respect. With the Umbrella Agreement in place, we now have a clear process to build on for the future."
Over the past few years, the parties met to develop a tripartite relationship and an effective negotiation process. The Umbrella Agreement represents the collaborative efforts of all three parties, and underlines their commitment to work together in good faith. A Coordinating Committee will oversee the work undertaken under the Umbrella Agreement to identify key priority issues, with the aim of reaching a Framework Agreement, and will negotiate a tripartite agreement for consultations with New Brunswick First Nations.
You can receive all our news and media updates automatically. Visit our Media Room RSS Feed for more information or to sign up.