An Evolving Relationship

Have you ever wondered what happens after a land claim or self-government agreement is signed?

It takes years for the parties to negotiate a final agreement and, once it is signed, many more years for some of the key commitments of the agreement to be fulfilled. Fulfilling commitments and putting the agreement to work is called “implementation”. During the negotiations phase, the parties set out a plan that lays out how they will work together to implement the agreement. The plan sets out how the parties will put in place the many actions and changes the agreement calls for in renewing relationships between the federal government, the Aboriginal group and the territorial government.

Historic Treaties and Modern Treaties

In areas of the NWT where “modern” treaties (also known as comprehensive land claims) have not yet been reached, there are original, or “historic” treaties in place signed by the Dene between 1899 and 1922—Treaties 8 and 11. These historic treaties and the rights outlined in them are constitutionally recognized and protected, just as are rights in the modern treaties.

In these areas, the Crown must rely on the original treaties to guide its consultations, actions and relationships with Aboriginal people in the Deh Cho and South Slave areas. Implementation of historic treaties is an ongoing process guided by Canada's Aboriginal policies, the Indian Act and the ongoing balance of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal interests and rights through legislation, regulation and policy.

Treaty: A negotiated agreement between a First Nation and the Crown, (represented by the federal and provincial or territorial governments) that spells out the rights of the First Nation with respect to lands and resources and may also define rights.