REGINA: Today, Betty Nippi-Albright, Official Opposition Critic for First Nations and Métis Relations and Truth and Reconciliation, called on the provincial government to cancel its plans to auction off Crown land, fix its broken Duty to Consult policy, and ensure that First Nations with unfulfilled Treaty Land Entitlement claims are given priority when provincial Crown lands are sold off.
“These lands are essential for First Nations and Métis hunters, trappers, and traditional land users exercising their Treaty and Inherent rights,” said Nippi-Albright. “What good are the rights to hunt, fish, and gather if there’s no Crown land left to do it on? The Sask. Party government needs to scrap their plan to auction off these lands and they need to work with First Nations and Metis leaders to ensure meaningful consultations take place when Treaty and Inherent rights are impacted.”
Nippi-Albright was joined by Wayne Semaganis, Chief of the Little Pine First Nation, Robert Merasty, former Chief of the Flying Dust First Nation, and Leon McNab, Chair of the George Gordon First Nation Treaty Land Entitlement committee. The provincial government recently posted 8,392 acres of Crown land for sale on a public auction website.
“The government should also ensure that if they’re going to plough ahead with their decision to sell off Crown lands, nearby First Nations with Treaty Land Entitlement claims need to have the first right of refusal,” said Nippi-Albright. “Auctioning off Crown lands to the highest bidder while Treaty Land Entitlement obligations go unfulfilled is not reconciliation – it’s a slap in the face to First Nations who have been ignored by the provincial government for far too long.”
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