A land settlement between the federal government and The Mosquito Grizzly Bear’s Head Lean Man First Nation has been increased.
The compensation the First Nation, near North Battleford, will receive has been brought up to $141 million, plus interest, to account for the present value of 14,670 acres and the loss of use “in light of established principles of law and equity.” This is an increase in the original settlement awarded by the Canada Specific Claims Tribunal in January 2021, which was just under $127 million.
While the First Nation has been involved in this land claim suit since the 90s, the dispute has existed for much longer. It dates back to 1905, when the Federal Government of that time took about 2/3s of the reserve through an unlawful surrender.
Since 1995, the First Nation had been submitted claims with the Government about compensation for the land, before in 2014 filing with Canada Specific Claims Tribunal. In 2017, the Federal Government conceded that the land lost was taken invalidly, and breaching Crown fiduciary duty for Indian Reserve No. 110/111.
In a statement from the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, they noted that after some exchange of views between the legal counsels of the First Nation and Canada, the new total was agreed upon.
Cheif Tanya Aguilar-Antiman says this is a meaningful step towards reconciliation, and this brings closure and finality to this claim. She adds she is thankful for both current and former Chiefs, Councils, Elders and members of the Nation who have pushed the settlement forward through the years.
The Mosquito Grizzly Bear’s Head Lean Man First Nation says they plan to put the full amount of the compensation into an independently managed trust, which they say will provide a sustainable source of income for the use of future generations.
This could include community development, housing, Elder or youth programs and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This settlement is the largest in the history of the Canada Specific Claims Tribunal.