Saskatchewan’s One Millionth Acre

The implementation of land claim settlements allows First Nations in Saskatchewan to move forward and invest in their futures. By means of Treaty Land Entitlement and Specific Claims settlements, up to 2.4 million acres of new rural and urban reserve lands will be created in Saskatchewan.

The recent conversion of the one millionth acre in Saskatchewan gives First Nations and all levels of government reason to celebrate. It is a significant milestone in a process that has provided First Nations with new lands and opened the door to economic development opportunities across the province.

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Transcript: Saskatchewan's One Millionth Acre

Narrator voiceover:

Throughout Saskatchewan, First Nations are creating economic development opportunities for their band members and communities.

Land Claims settlements mean First Nations in Saskatchewan can move forward and invest in their futures…establishing and operating a wide variety of businesses.

For many years, the Government of Canada and the Province of Saskatchewan have been working with Saskatchewan's First Nations to settle outstanding land claims.

With Treaty Land Entitlement and Specific Claims settlements, up to 2.4 million acres of new rural and urban reserve lands will be created in Saskatchewan.

One million acres of land have already been finalized. It is a significant milestone; one that has provided First Nations with new lands and opened the door to economic development opportunities across the province.

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The One Millionth Acre Milestone - Creation of New Reserve Lands in Saskatchewan

Honourable Bill McKnight, P.C., Former Treaty Commissioner of Saskatchewan , Former Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

The TLE or Treaty Land Entitlement was signed by Canada, Saskatchewan and the First Nations of Saskatchewan in 1992…

…and it was to fulfill a debt that was owed to the First Nations from the signing of Treaty…

…there was a land quantum that they had never received and the Treaty Land Entitlement allowed them to receive that land.

Cliff Tawpisin, Former Chief, Muskeg Lake Cree Nation

Prior to the signing in the early nineties we did the research, the Chief and Council of the day, did the research and clearly it was defined that Muskeg Lake was a TLE band…

…and they acquired 35 acres of urban reserve in Saskatoon here, in the Southerland area…

It was something that they felt that if we're looking at economic development then certainly start looking at developing commercial development. We have 35 acres at the McKnight Commercial Centre- the urban reserve…

We have a number of buildings that are 100 % owned by Muskeg Lake- or in partnership with other individuals…corporations, organizations…

But we also have other organizations that lease our land…

We still have 15 and a half acres remaining to be invested…remaining to be developed.

What Treaty Land Entitlement has done for our community, has given us the resources and the opportunity to develop the framework in our community that ensures quality of life and opportunity for the future of Muskeg Lake.

Leila Nashacappo, Director of Yellow Quill Holdings Inc

Yellow Quill First Nation is located 2 and a half hours east of Saskatoon.

With the land claim settlements Yellow Quill was able to purchase land and we've added over 16,000 acres to the main reserve…and it's all agriculture land….we also own land outside of Regina as well as land outside of Saskatoon….which will be turned to reserve potentially in the future.

We have a property that's over 2 acres right in downtown Saskatoon…

And through that we're going to have all types of economic development opportunities…

We currently have a nine-story building that is leased out. One of the tenants is the First Nations Bank.

We also have a parking lot adjacent to the building downtown and it is currently leased to Imperial Parking.

We receive revenue from Imperial Parking on a monthly basis.

Our proposed plans for that property is to develop another commercial building and we are seeking potential tenants.

The biggest benefit is a long term revenue stream for Yellow Quill First Nation…

The revenue stream allows us to give back to our community in the form of providing for social programs that aren't normally funded.

I think it's a very good thing for our First Nation …

The economic development opportunities that this project will provide for our community will help give our community pride knowing that we're participating in the economy.

Rob Harvey, Associate Regional Director General-AANDC Saskatchewan Region

What we've seen many of the First Nations take advantage of under the Treaty Land Entitlements, Specific Claims and Additions to Reserve process is an opportunity to purchase land for economic development opportunities such as gas stations in or around urban centres.

There are First Nations owned gas stations all over Saskatchewan.

We've seen office towers being constructed, retail outlets…

Other First Nations have taken the opportunity to build casinos and also grocery stores…

Some of the First Nations have purchased agricultural lands which they have leased out to local farmers to generate revenues for their home communities.

Trisha Delormier-Hill, Executive Director-Lands and Consultation Branch- Government of Saskatchewan

The creation of one million reserve acres has taken may years of hard work by all of the parties and we're proud to be part of it…

As part of the reserve creation process the Province reviews all lands selected by First Nations for Provincial interests that need to be addressed before the land can be transferred to reserve status.

Bill McKnight

There was an obligation recognized, and that transfer of land allows First Nations to take part in the economy today…

…everything from agriculture to the potash mine at Muskowekwan to oil and gas with Carry the Kettle to residential and commercial developments in both Saskatoon and Regina and other centres.

Voiceover narration:

The conversion of the one millionth acre in Saskatchewan gives First Nations and all levels of government reason to celebrate, but we're not done yet.

With 1.4 million acres remaining to convert, economic opportunities and benefits will continue to open up for First Nations communities, as well as the partnering municipalities, towns and cities

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Since 1992, 51 urban reserves have been created in Saskatchewan. In addition, 53 Saskatchewan First Nations have had an ATR (Additions to Reserve) created pursuant to a land claim settlement.

They are:

For more information visit: www.aandc.gc.ca

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