The Treaty Land Entitlement Committee of Manitoba (TLEC) is calling on all provincial party leaders to commit to completing Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE) claims under the 1997 Manitoba Framework Agreement on TLE within 10 years.
TLEC president Chief Nelson Genaille of Sapotaweyak Cree Nation sent a letter to NDP leader Greg Selinger, Liberal leader Rana Bokhari, Progressive Conservative leader Brian Pallister and Green Party leader James Beddome asking them to match the federal government’s campaign pledge to fast-track treaty land entitlement in Manitoba to completion within the next decade.
The TLEC wants Manitoba’s party leaders to agree to renegotiate the terms of the 1997 framework agreement, allow all TLE selections in provincial parks to become reserve lands, to agree to sell available surplus Crown land for $1 an acre to First Nations that can purchase lands under their TLE agreements, and to stop renewing existing mining claims and leases on all TLE Crown land selections.
TLE agreements in Manitoba are signed between the federal and provincial governments and First Nations that did not receive their full allotment of reserve land under numbered treaties signed with Canada between 1871 and 1910. Canada, Manitoba and 29 First Nations in the province agreed upon TLE settlements between 1994 and 2009 – eight through individual TLE settlements and 21 through the TLE Framework Agreement.
The framework agreement pledged to provide 1.1 million acres of land to 21 First Nations. To date, Canada has set aside a total of 462,727.45 acres of land as reserve land for 14 of the 15 First Nations that have signed their individual TLE agreements.
“Given that there remains a total of 500,369.75 acres of land selections and acquisitions to be converted to Reserve status for these 15 [Entitlement First Nations], and in light of the time it took to convert the current acreages to date, Manitoba must do more,” said Genaille’s letter.