Dehcho First Nations, N.W.T. gov't at impasse over land claim

Dehcho Grand Chief accuses government of offering an ultimatum without doing any negotiating

The grand chief of the Dehcho First Nations says the Government of the Northwest Territories is asking them to accept a land claim settlement, even though the government hasn't actually negotiated anything with them.

Herb.jpgThe Dehcho, whose traditional territory is centred in the southwest of the N.W.T., are asking for control of about 50,000 square kilometres of land in their land claim negotiations, including both surface and subsurface rights.

In a letter to the First Nation, the territorial government, which has taken over negotiations with the Dehcho from the federal government since devolution in 2013, offers 37,000 square kilometres, with only surface rights, as well as royalties of about 18 per cent on the land.

The territorial government says that's as flexible as it can be, and if that offer isn't good enough, then both parties should "acknowledge that negotiations have failed."

However, Dehcho Grand Chief Herb Norwegian, calling the territorial government's offer an "ultimatum," says there were no negotiations at all.

"What they need to understand," says Norwegian, "is that if they are going to get any certainty down the Mackenzie they are going to have to go through the Dehcho, whether they like it or not." 

 

Read the full CBC story Here.