Deadline passes for land offerDehcho Assembly pushed ahead as GNWT fails to meet deadline
Northern News Services
Thursday, May 26, 2016
TTHEK'EHDELI/JEAN MARIE RIVER
The GNWT has failed to meet its commitment of putting a new land offer on the table for the Dehcho Process, according to a news release from Dehcho First Nations Grand Chief Herb Norwegian issued May 18.
Dehcho First Nations Grand Chief Herb Norwegian says the annual Dehcho Assembly has been moved to Jean Marie River. It had previously been scheduled to occur in August in Wrigley. - April Hudson/NNSL photo
The release advanced the date of the Dehcho Assembly to June 27 to be held in Jean Marie River where Norwegian stated band leaders may hear about whether the federal government will be taking a new approach to negotiations.
The assembly is set to run until June 30.
"The prime minister says Canada wants to build a new relationship with indigenous peoples but so far they are still using the mandates developed by Harper's government," he stated.
"We expect to see a change, otherwise their talk is just that."
The Dehcho Assembly had originally been set for Wrigley in August. However, Norwegian told the Deh Cho Drum discussion with band leaders led to a change in location and time.
He said many leaders felt a date in August was too late and feared fewer people would attend.
He added the band is still waiting on a new land offer, which was promised by Premier Bob McLeod in late December.
On Dec. 16, McLeod promised to meet with leaders within 45 days and put new offers on the table within 90 days, should he be re-elected premier. Shortly thereafter, he secured his position.
But in the May 18 release, Norwegian stated the government has yet to make good on that commitment.
"We are still waiting for (the) GNWT to fulfil its promise," he wrote.
Norwegian told the Deh Cho Drum that Dehcho First Nations met with the GNWT earlier in the year and hoped to find out what the status of the offer was at that point.
"They weren't able to present anything (to us)," he said.
"We continue to work with our partners on proposals for advancing negotiations in the Dehcho. We look forward to sharing a proposal with the Dehcho First Nations in the near future," stated Andrew Livingstone, senior cabinet communications advisor.