Salt River First Nation is located in the Northern most part of Alberta and the Southern most part of the Northwest Territories. We are a mix of Cree and Chipewyan people. We have members In the Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Newfoundland. We also have members in the United States, Germany and Australia.
Message for members
Salt River First Nation Announces a Long-Outstanding Component of its 2002 Treaty Settlement Agreement is Now Finalized for its Members
[Fort Smith, Northwest Territories – May 20, 2021] As a result of its Treaty Land Entitlement claim, Salt River First Nation (SRFN) signed a Treaty Settlement Agreement (TSA) with Canada in 2002, which included a “Corporation Lands” section to be implemented as soon as practically possible. SRFN is pleased to announce that after almost 20 years, the actual implementation of this TSA component has become a reality.
What are Corporation Lands and why do they exist? In 1968 there was a landslide that changed the face of the community of Fort Smith forever. During this time, a number of SRFN family residences were in the danger zone, with members living in peril of another land slide. Thus, it was amid this disaster that many SRFN members were forced to relocate to Indian Affairs Branch (IAB) lands set aside for their occupation and use, while title remained with the Government. Many of the affected families constructed homes and have resided on the IAB lands for over half a century without ownership title to their residential properties. Within the Treaty Settlement Agreement, such IAB lands are referred to as “Corporation Lands”.
Negotiation of the IAB Lands. In 1999, Chief James Schaefer and his negotiation team promised members that during the land claims process they would try to enable those dispossessed members living on the IAB lands to convert the lands to their ‘fee simple’ ownership. The team was successful in convincing the Government of Canada to relinquish control and dominion over those IAB lands to the eventual ownership of the respective SRFN members. Thus, the IAB lands were included in the TSA as “Corporation Lands”. In 2020, the current Council pushed with its Trilateral Negotiation Team to ensure this outstanding issue was finally resolved. Consequently, the CIRNAC regional office has been working closely with SRFN to expediate the final process.
In expressing his relief and gratitude, Chief Poitras notes that “Today is an historic moment in our land claims agreement. It is my absolute pleasure to announce that Salt River First Nation is finalizing the legal transfer of the IAB lands in accordance with our Agreement. This outstanding issue, that has eluded closure for almost 20 years, is nearing finality. SRFN members who will be receiving fee simple ownership of their IAB lands will be contacted by our Lands Department.”
“I would like to acknowledge the past Chiefs and Councils that have worked on this file over the years. I would especially like to thank Salt River First Nation’s Tri-lateral Negotiation Team. Their persistence and expertise have been essential in this process and our Nation is blessed to have them working for our interests.”
“Lastly, to those members who will receive title to their lands in the coming month, I would like to thank you for your perseverance and commitment in creating safe and healthy homes despite your lack of actual property ownership. It is warm comfort for your children and grandchildren to know their homes and lands are now a legacy asset within your families. You are all a testament to how Indigenous people can adapt and surpass the challenges they face, no matter how impossible it may seem at the time.”
SRFN looks forward to the day it can announce that other long-outstanding Treaty Settlement Agreement implementation matters have been finalized.
We have had members ask about traditional languages in the Nation. Here is pdf from the Government of the NWT's language project that teaches Chipewyan.
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