Negotiations are under way to identify lands within Kátł’odeeche First Nation territory that may be added to its reserve.
The negotiations involve the First Nation and the federal government, while the NWT government is also part of discussions to select the parcels of land involved.
The three parties involved are part of a land working group and their negotiations are part of Treaty Land Entitlement negotiations between the First Nation and the federal government.
The specific parcels affected have not been disclosed.
“I know, but I can’t release that information right now … my membership doesn’t know that as well, yet, because we’re still in the process with Canada,” said Chief April Martel of the Kátł’odeeche First Nation (KFN).
Martel said negotiations are being handled by lawyers and the claim is at the evidence-gathering stage.
“That’s basically where we are. We’re just waiting right now,” she said.
After this article was first published, KFN negotiator Peter Redvers told Cabin Radio: “KFN Elders and community members have been actively involved in identifying land parcels for selection over the past three years, although the specific parcels have not been shared publicly.
“When there is a reasonable degree of consensus between the negotiating parties on potential lands, these will be subject to consultation with other parties where and as deemed necessary.”
The GNWT declined to comment on the negotiations as they are ongoing. How the negotiations or process are affected by the First Nation’s new land law – allowing it to effectively manage its own land and resources – was not immediately clear.
Martel noted KFN’s claim against the Northwest Territory Métis Nation (NWTMN), Hay River Métis Government Council, and the territorial government – over what the First Nation claims are illegal cabins – remains before the courts.
Clarification: April 29, 12:22 MT. After this report was first published, the Kátł’odeeche First Nation provided more information regarding the process taking place. In particular, the First Nation characterized the “main-table negotiations” as taking place between the First Nation and Canada with the NWT government’s participation limited to a working group that identifies land parcels for selection. The First Nation said community members had been “actively involved” in identifying those parcels.