Canada makes one of the largest land compensation payments ever made to an Aboriginal people
Sylvie Claire / June 3, 2022
Canada will pay C$1.3 billion to an indigenous community in western Canada for the theft of part of their land in the early 20th century, one of the largest land settlements ever made.
We are here today to right a wrong of the past, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday at a ceremony in Alberta (west) on the land of the Siksika, one of more than 600 Amerindian peoples in Canada.
By 1910, the Canadian government had seized almost half of their land and sold it to settlers despite a treaty signed thirty years earlier.
While this settlement does not make up for the past, we hope it leads to a better and brighter future for this generation and those to come, added Mark Miller, Minister of Aboriginal Relations.
Our way of life has changed. It will never be the same, nothing can replace what was there, said Siksika Nation Chief Ouray Crowfoot, who was wearing a traditional feather headdress, saying the community is now eager to move forward.
For him, however, his people are witnessing a revival of their culture, their traditions, but also their Blackfoot language which is now used on local road signs, for example.
We are a resilient people. We are not just surviving, we are moving into an era of prosperity, he added.
This agreement concludes a request by the Siksika Nation that dates back to the 1960s. In November 2021, negotiators for both parties reached an agreement, which was validated by a community vote last December.