The provincial government announced Sept. 20 that it has signed memorandums of understanding on forestry revenue-sharing with two more Northern Manitoba First Nations.
One of the agreements is with Norway House Cree Nation and the other is with Chemawawin Cree Nation.
The new MOUs commit the province to sharing 45 per cent of timber harvesting dues from areas in proximity to NHCN and CCN with the First Nations. The two-year pilot projects are retroactive to Jan. 1 of this year.
“I am glad to see the Manitoba government working with First Nations on natural resources development and we welcome the opportunity to share the benefits,” said CCN Chief Clarence Easter. “In addition to revenue sharing, we look forward to being involved in the development of a sustainable, viable, forest management planning process and economic development in our areas.”
A memorandum of agreement was signed by the province and NHCN on Aug. 2, with the government committing to creating a tree-planting program to train and employ youth and community members. A multiphase traditional land use study will be led by NHCN, with priority given to the area and interests fo the First Nation. Timber will also be provided for NHCN’s sawmills to support the goal of building approximately 500 homes in the community.
“The NHCN chief and council unanimously agreed to move forward with this revenue sharing agreement. I am pleased that the people of my nation will finally start receiving their share of revenues generated from the abundant resources on our traditional territory,” said Anderson. “The understanding of our treaty with Canada was based on sharing the lands and waters. This is a good start from the Manitoba government that is willing to work with NHCN and we recognize both [Natural Resources and Northern Development] Minister [Greg] Nesbitt and former minister Scott Fielding for moving these agreements forward."
The provincial previously signed similar MOUs with Opaskwayak Cree Nation and Mosakahiken Cree Nation in August.
“These MOUs represent another purposeful step forward that our government is taking on the path of reconciliation, as we work to correct past wrongs,” said Nesbitt. “I am honoured to sign these historic agreements, which will allow CCN and NHCN to now benefit from forestry operations on their traditional territory.”
Manitoba says it allocated more than $1 million toward grants to support resource-related economic development last year, including $200,000 to improve the viability of the province’s forestry sector by encouraging more Indigenous participation in the economic opportunities it provides.