Res #: 33-01M
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Northern Affairs
Resolution No. 33-01M
WHEREAS, the Government of Canada is trying to fulfill their obligation in respect of Treaty Land Entitlement shortfall acres; and
WHEREAS, Saskatchewan Highways and Transportation is the owner of the road allowances in the Province of Saskatchewan; and
WHEREAS, the administration of the road allowances within the selections fall under municipal jurisdiction; and
WHEREAS, the Lac Eauclaire selection made by the Pelican Lake Band in the RM of Big River No. 555 has within its boundaries a portion of the Carlton to Green Lake Trail, which is an 1888 surveyed roadway; and
WHEREAS, the Pelican Lake Band is not willing to have the trail removed from the selection; and WHEREAS, the Carlton Trail is located in various municipalities throughout the province, and is vulnerable to future Treaty Land Entitlement selections;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that SARM lobby the Provincial Government to declare the 1888 Carlton to Green Lake Trail unattainable for the purpose of Treaty Land Entitlement and furthermore that the trail remain in the name of the Crown (the owners remain the Province) and the administration jurisdiction remain with the municipalities.
Response from Honourable Chris Axworthy, Q.C., Minister of Aboriginal Affairs:
As the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, I recognize your concerns about the Pelican Lake First Nation's Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE) Lac Eauclaire selection. I realize that you have concerns about the Pelican Lake First Nation's unwillingness to have the Carlton to Green Lake Trail (Trail) removed from its TLE selection, as well as the Trail's vulnerability to future TLE selections. Let me start by giving you a brief history of the TLE selection.
The TLE process for this selection has taken a great deal of time. However, it is important to recognize that it is not unusual for TLE selections to take several years to reach a conclusion, given the wide range of complex issues that often need to be resolved. The parties in a TLE selection process must be given adequate time to explore all the options for resolution of issues.
The Pelican Lake First Nation initially selected land surrounding Lac Eauclaire in 1980 and the Honourable Ted Bowerman committed the land for transfer to Canada on behalf of the Pelican Lake, for TLE purposes in April 1981. Subsequently, Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management (SERM) made the lands available for sale pursuant to the Saskatchewan Treaty Land Entitlement Framework Agreement (Framework Agreement) on June 26, 1998.
The Government, in exceptional circumstances, allows for Crown lands within recreation sites to be made available for sale to entitlement First Nations. This is specifically set out in the Framework Agreement. The Government has had long standing discussions with Pelican Lake First Nation regarding these lands which precede the Framework Agreement. This selection is considered by the Government to be an exceptional circumstance for purposes of the TLE selection process.
The Pelican Lake First Nation successfully concluded negotiations and agreements with outfitters, trappers, and wild rice growers as third-party interests, as well as the withdrawal of the selected lands from the Weyerhaeuser Forest Management Agreement (FMA). All of these are issues that must be addresses prior to reserve creation.
In Resolution No. 33, you voiced an objection to the inclusion of the Trail as part of the Pelican Lake First Nation TLE selection. I would like to point out that in May 2001, the Pelican Lake First Nation drafted a Band by-law to preserve the Trail in its current state and an RM/First Nation Agreement to establish a co-management committee to deal with public access and future use and development of the Trail. To that end, in July 2001, Minister Lorje asked that the Rural Municipality of Big River provide specific comments regarding the draft RM/First Nation Agreement and Band by-law. This has not been provided by the RM. In my view, the Pelican Lake First Nation has been pragmatic in its approach, and has offered an adequate solution.
In terms of the balance of the Trail, it is our understanding that other portions have already been closed and consolidated with the title to the adjacent land owners. For future TLE selections impacting the Trail, we would expect that the Rural Municipality and First Nation would enter into good faith negotiations to determine how the Trail would be addressed. The Government shares your concern about the historic significance of the Trail. For that reason, the Government of Saskatchewan provided the services of an independent mediator to assist in negotiations between the Rural Municipality of Big River and the Pelican First Nation on this issue.