The Mosquito Grizzly Bear’s Head Leanman First Nation in Saskatchewan is considering an offer from the federal government on a multi-million compensation award for land lost more than a century ago.
In 1905, the community, located 156 kms northwest of Saskatoon, lost over 5,800 hectares of land to the federal government.
The case has been in the courts since 1996.
In 2020 the federal government offered the community more that $127 million on the condition they voted to surrender the land. But instead of surrendering the land, leadership took the case to the specific claims tribunal.
On Monday the Tribunal Judge Harry Slade decided on a $127 million dollar settlement for the land settlement.
Chief Tanya Aguilar-Antiman says they are satisfied they did not have to agree to the surrender of the land.
“Canada made two offers to the nation prior to this decision in 2020 the offer was quite larger than the decision than that of the tribunal,” said Aguilar-Antiman.
“As leaders we said no way will we ever go to our people, in this day and time and era, and ask out people to vote and voluntarily vote to surrender our lands when we through the years always said we never surrendered.”
Slade’s decision Monday is not the maximum the tribunal can award. It’s capped at $150 million.
Aguilar-Antiman says they have 30 days to decide if they will accept it, but she sees the benefit of accepting it.
Aguilar-Antiman says the community that has approximately 1,500 members, half who live on-reserve who are known as a Nakoda Nation can use the money for economic development and for future generations.
“We are looking at the benefits of how it can really help membership nation and our future generations.”
When Aguilar-Anitman reflects back on what her ancestors had to endure.
“I just think about our ancestors I really do I think about that time in 1905 already knowing we were rebellion bands and we were treated unjustly. They were hungry they were starving and to have an Indian agent come and offer you X amount of dollars to surrender the lands,” said Aguilar-Antiman. “It’s disheartening but that’s the true realty of history here in Canada. We have this opportunity now as a nation to share our history of that unjust and break those barriers of prejudice and discriminatory attitudes.