Umbrella Agreement

Mi'kmaq - Nova Scotia - Canada
Umbrella Agreement


BETWEEN:

THE MI'KMAQ OF NOVA SCOTIA as represented by the Thirteen Mi'kmaq Saqmaq

( "the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia")

- and -

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF NOVA SCOTIA as represented by the Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs

( "Nova Scotia")

- and -

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF CANADA as represented by the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs

( "Canada")

Collectively referred to as "the Parties"

WHEREAS the Parties recognize the value of formal tripartite discussions;

WHEREAS the Parties believe it is desirable to jointly discuss, investigate and negotiate measures that will assist in the resolution of issues of mutual concern between the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia and Canada;

WHEREAS there are outstanding issues among the Parties including the inherent right to self-government, Aboriginal rights, including assertions of title, and treaty issues;

WHEREAS the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall Jr. Prosecution recommended the establishment of a Tripartite Forum to mediate and resolve outstanding issues between the Parties;

WHEREAS recent court decisions such as Delgamuukw and Marshall have highlighted the importance of resolving issues of Aboriginal and treaty rights through negotiations;

WHEREAS the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Marshall has recognized the existence of Mi'kmaq rights pursuant to the Treaties of 1760-1761; and

WHEREAS the Parties wish to develop a process for consultation with respect to Aboriginal and treaty rights.

THE PARTIES MAKE THE FOLLOWING COMMITMENTS:

General

  1. The Parties hereby agree to work together in good faith to resolve mutual issues. As a vehicle to achieve this commitment, the Parties will draw upon three distinct elements of their relationship:
    1. the Tripartite Forum;
    2. a broad negotiation process to consider constitutionally protected rights of the Mi'kmaq; and,
    3. a consultation process.

Tripartite Forum

  1. The Terms of Reference for the Tripartite Forum are currently under review through a joint effort of the Parties.
  2. The Parties agree to reaffirm the Terms of Reference for the Tripartite Forum which may be amended from time to time as agreed to by all of the Parties.
  3. The Parties agree that the mandate of the Tripartite Forum shall continue to be issues of community-based programs and projects and the Parties shall:
    1. jointly discuss, investigate and negotiate measures that will assist in the resolution of issues, matters and topics of mutual concerns; and
    2. establish work plans including time frames and resources on such issues, matters and topics.

Treaty and Aboriginal Rights Negotiations

  1. The Parties shall enter into good faith negotiations directed to achieving a Framework Agreement on Treaty and Aboriginal Rights Negotiations.
  2. The Parties agree that the mandate of the Treaty and Aboriginal Rights Negotiations table shall include issues of definition, recognition and implementation of the constitutionally protected rights of the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia.
  3. The Parties agree that the negotiation process and approaches adopted will be governed by the Framework Agreement. For greater certainty, the Parties agree that they will take into account the unique circumstances of the Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq when developing their mandates and that their positions may differ from Canada's Comprehensive Land Claims Policy.

Consultation

  1. The Parties shall enter into good faith negotiations directed to achieving Terms of Reference for a Consultation Process.
  2. The Terms of Reference for the Consultation Process shall address the nature of and the process regarding the requirement of governments to consult with the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia.

Interpretation

  1. Following ratification of the revised Terms of Reference for the Tripartite Forum and the Terms of Reference for the Consultation Process and the Framework Agreement for the Treaty and Aboriginal Rights Negotiations, these documents shall be appended to this Umbrella Agreement. These documents shall stand as independent arrangements according to the terms set out in each.
  2. This Umbrella Agreement and related discussions and documents shall not be construed as admissions of fact or liability, and shall not preclude and shall be without prejudice to:
    1. any other discussion, either tripartite or bilateral, between the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia, or individual Mi'kmaq First Nation Bands and Nova Scotia or Canada on matters of mutual concern, or between any organization and Nova Scotia or Canada on matters of mutual concern; and
    2. the positions of the Parties before any other forum or court.
  3. Except for Articles 11 through 16, the Parties agree that this Umbrella Agreement is not legally binding and is intended as an expression of goodwill and as a political commitment to enter into discussions. It is not intended to either create, define or affect legal rights or to be construed as an interpretive aid in the determination of any legal right.
  4. The Parties agree, for greater certainty, to the following:
    1. Except for the purpose of bringing this Article to the attention of a court, tribunal or board, the Parties undertake not to tender or seek admission of the Umbrella Agreement or of the specific content of meetings, discussions, negotiations and positions taken during the operation of the Umbrella Agreement, as evidence in a court of law or in any administrative or regulatory tribunal or board.
    2. Unless the Parties agree otherwise in writing, all meetings, discussions, negotiation, minutes, audiotapes and videotapes created, documents generated, and positions taken during the operation of this Umbrella Agreement up to the ratification of the Terms of Reference for the Tripartite Forum and the Consultation Process and the Framework Agreement for the Treaty and Aboriginal Rights Negotiations:
      1. shall be on a "without prejudice" basis;
      2. shall be deemed not to create, define, alter or affect the legal rights or positions of any of the Parties; and
      3. are not intended to examine specific Aboriginal or treaty rights, and are not intended to be consultation for the purpose of justification by Her Majesty for the infringement of any such rights of the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia or any member of a Mi'kmaq Band under s.35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 or otherwise.
    3. Notwithstanding any other provision of the Umbrella Agreement, any Party may refer to publicly and may lead evidence regarding the Parties, date of operation, existence and purpose of this Umbrella Agreement and the frequency of and participants in meetings held pursuant to its operation before a court, regulatory tribunal, board or similar body.
    4. The benefit of Article 13 shall accrue to, and the undertakings of the Parties shall apply in respect of all thirteen Mi'kmaq Indian Bands and their governing Chiefs and Councils and membership, the Union of Nova Scotia Indians, the Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq, Nova Scotia and Canada.

Coming into Force / Termination

  1. This Umbrella Agreement shall come into force and effect on the date of its signature and shall continue in force and effect unless terminated by one or more of the Parties upon six months written notice to the other Parties hereto.
  2. Notwithstanding Article 14.0 of this Umbrella Agreement, provision may be made within the Tripartite Forum Terms of Reference, the Treaty and Aboriginal Rights Negotiations Framework Agreement and the Consultation Process Terms of Reference for termination of those specific processes.
  3. Notwithstanding Article 14, the agreements, understandings, undertakings and commitments set out in Articles 11 to 13 shall continue in effect unless the Parties otherwise agree in writing.

 

Signed at Halifax, Nova Scotia, the _____ Day of June 2002.

 

_________________________________
Chief Diana Deborah Robinson
Acadia Band

 

_________________________________
Chief Michael Gerard Julian
Afton Band

 

_________________________________
Chief Lawrence Leo Toney
Annapolis Valley Band

 

_________________________________
Chief Sherry Mae Pictou
Bear River Band

 

_________________________________
Chief Lindsay Robert Marshall
Chapel Island Band

 

_________________________________
Chief Blair Francis
Eskasoni Band

 

_________________________________
Chief Shirley Marie Clarke
Glooscap First Nation

 

_________________________________
Chief Ann Francis
Pictou Landing Band

 

_________________________________
Chief Terrance J. Paul
Membertou Band

 

_________________________________
Chief Lawrence A. Paul
Millbrook Band

 

_________________________________
Chief Reginald Maloney
Shubenacadie Band

 

_________________________________
Chief Mary Louise Bernard
Wagmatcook Band

 

_________________________________
Chief Morley Googoo
Whycocomagh Band

 

________________________________
The Honourable Robert Nault
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

 

_________________________________
The Honourable Michael G. Baker
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs

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