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– A summary of recent Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada announcements, opportunities and initiatives –
On January 27th, Canada, British Columbia and the First Nations Education Steering Committee signed a Tripartite Education Framework Agreement that aims to provide BC First Nation students with access to quality education programs whether they attend school on or off reserve. Read the News Release.
On January 25th, Minister Duncan and Chief Darcy Bear, of Whitecap Dakota First Nation in Saskatchewan, signed a Framework Agreement to negotiate self-government for the First Nation. This Agreement marks the start of a process for determining Whitecap Dakota law-making powers, including how they will manage their resources, preserve their culture and build on their successes in economic development. It will foster an autonomous and accountable First Nation government and also include arrangements to ensure harmonious relationships with other governments. Read the News Release.
A historic Crown-First Nations Gathering to build on the Canada-First Nations Joint Action Plan took place on January 24th, 2012. The Gathering brought together approximately 250 people, including 170 First Nation Chiefs, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Governor General David Johnston and Mrs. Johnston, and 24 Ministers and elected officials, including Minister Duncan and Parliamentary Secretary Rickford. During the full day event, First Nation Chiefs and Government of Canada representatives spoke about the importance of renewing the relationship between the Crown and First Nations. The Gathering also took stock of the progress that has been made and discussed the challenges and opportunities ahead.
On January 23rd, Minister Duncan, with Chief Robert Louie, Chair of the First Nations Lands Advisory Board (LAB), and Chief Austin Bear, Chair of the First Nations Land Management Resource Centre Inc., announced that eighteen more First Nations will soon begin a process to opt out of the 34 land-related sections of the Indian Act and assume control over their reserve land and resources. Read the News Release.
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