Moving Toward Economic Development: The Story of Madawaska Maliseet

Achieved through collaboration with Canadian Pacific Railway and Fraser Papers, the settlement of a specific claim enables Madawaska Maliseet First Nation in New Brunswick to break ground on a new commercial development.



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Transcript: Moving Toward Economic Development: The Story of Madawaska Maliseet

The Madawaska Maliseet First Nation is located in Northern New Brunswick, next to the town of Edmundston, and has a band membership of 350 people.

In 2008, The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation celebrated the settlement of a specific claim regarding the Canadian Pacific Right of Way.

"In 2004 we accepted the claim under the Specific Claims policy for negotiations. The Specific Claims policy provides First Nations with an opportunity to resolve their historical grievances without going through the courts."

"In the 1800s, the late 1800s a railway line went through the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation … CP Rail took over that line and an easement was granted to them, around 1907…"

"After that in 1930 CP abandoned those railway lines but in 1970 they entered into an agreement with the local pulp mill, to run an effluent pipeline from the mill along the old railway bed to the other side to a tailings pond."

"The pipeline was built on the ground in the 70s… people couldn't go from the south to the north side of the pipeline because you know, it was on the ground…it was made of wood staves, 4 feet tall."

"Since CP abandoned this railway line in 1936, we made a claim to get the land back…outside the reserve all the non Indians that were living off reserve…they all got their land back, except on the reserve here…."

"There were two other third parties that were implicated in the negotiations, one was Twin Rivers or Fraser Mills at that time, that had the pipeline, and the other party was CP Rail which actually had the original railway line going through the community."

"We had many face-to-face meetings and on-going conference calls which helped build that relationship and trust to allow a very effective settlement process to occur.

…this entire settlement only took 3-4 years which was quite a feat, given the complexity… "

The Government of Canada provided approximately $5.7 million in compensation.

Madawaska Maliseet First Nation also negotiated an agreement with Twin Rivers, the new owners of Fraser Papers, allowing the company to continue to operate the pipeline on the reserve.

"We've signed a permit and allowed the pipeline to continue to exist …it's now underground…it's no longer above ground…so the relationship continues and we try and make it a continuing positive relationship."

"The pipeline is very important to the Mill if the pipeline wasn't in place we wouldn't be able to operate."

"And that agreement gives us the peace of mind that we know that we will be able to operate the facility …into the future."

"With the 5 million dollars claim money we gave a little bit to each band member…but the balance of the money enabled us to move forward with our commercial development…"

"… So we focused a lot on economic development with the money."

"Part of our move toward our economic development is our highway project…"

"The Trans Canada Highway divides our First Nation and because we have the ramps now, now we are actually able to develop the other side of the highway for commercial leasing and our very first anchor tenant will be a…a Shell truck stop."

"Our First Nation prides itself in dealing in positive, good faith relationships… "

"…We don't forget the past and we don't forget how we've come to be who we are…but we've also really focused on moving forward…"