Fighting 109 years of injustice and standing up for Siksika treaty rights
The Siksika Nation filed the 1910 Surrender Claim with the Exchequer Court of Canada in 1960 and later updated it in 1987.
The Claim was submitted to Specific Claims in 1985 and following delay on Canada’s part in taking any steps to advance or resolve the claim, in 2001 the Court deemed the file as a specially managed proceeding.
Following Canada’s finding, the estimated value of 1910 Surrender Claim was a claim valued over $150 million limit and outside Canada’s Specific Claim Process, Canada and Siksika Nation entered formal settlement negotiations in the fall of 2016.
Siksika Nation has been in the process of negotiating the 1910 Surrender Claim for almost three years since the Negotiation protocol was signed back in July 2016.
The 1910 Surrender claim involves the unlawful taking of approximately 115,000 acres of Siksika’s most productive agricultural lands and minerals in 1910 contrary to the Indian Act and Canada’s fiduciary duty to Siksika Nation.
Settlement negotiations are confidential and therefore our communication is limited. However, the negotiation team felt it was important that we do our best to let matapiiks know where we stand in regards to resolving this claim.
In January 2018, following the completion of the joint expert studies on the actual value of the claim, Siksika communicated its compensation proposal to Canada to settle the 1910 Surrender claim as well as a number of its other outstanding land claims.
In the two years since the negotiations started, Siksika Nation has completed research on compensation, consultation with entities and service areas, and joint work at the negotiation table. We have been following the joint work plan which guides our ongoing work in assessing the value of the claim and discussing possible elements of a settlement agreement.
The Siksika negotiation team has also been meeting with Canada to discuss the possibility of creative options for settlements. This includes reserve creation and “non-monetary” benefits that might form part of a potential Settlement Agreement. Siksika Nation has also expressed an interest in pursuing opportunities in specific locations including the area around the Calgary International Airport.
Included in the joint work plan is the development of a Child and Family Services policy and a Siksika Law for Siksika Families. Other interests that Siksika would like to advance is a hydro project, renovation and management of a youth hostel at Castle Mountain, and the completion of the constitution framework for the Nation.
Leadership is focused and committed to reaching a settlement as soon as possible and working in timely manner to achieve that end. We acknowledge that we are working with very complex issues which cannot be resolved overnight nor do we have control over Canada’s negotiation team strategy.
We have persistently completed all jointly agreed upon work that Canada has requested from Siksika in regards to studies and research in the two years of negotiations, as well as either completed or working to complete work required of us as outlined in the joint work plans of these past two fiscal years.
This is one of the largest land-based claims that Canada has ever accepted for negotiations and we will continue to hold Canada to their commitment to resolve this claim. If Canada fails to uphold its deadlines, as per the negotiation protocol, Siksika will pursue other options in settling this claim including litigation.
We have also reached out to the province of Alberta to engage with them about opportunities for addition to reserve lands. Canada invited the Province of Alberta to participate in these negotiations. They did attend two negotiation sessions however it has since become apparent they are reluctant to participate.
We will do our best to inform the people about any changes that may happen in 2019. We will not falter or agree to anything until a fair decision is reached for the benefit of our people. For more information regarding the 1910 Surrender Claim, please visit the Land Claims office or call 403-734-5137.