Canada pays $1.3 billion in land compensation to Indigenous people

Canada will pay 1.

Canada pays $1.3 billion in land compensation to Indigenous people

Canada will pay 1.3 billion Canadian dollars to an indigenous community in the west of the country in compensation for the theft of part of their land at the beginning of the 20th century, one of the largest territorial compensations ever concluded.

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"We have come together today to right an injustice of the past," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday at a ceremony Thursday in Alberta (west) on the lands of the Siksika, which is one of more than 600 Native American peoples of Canada.

By 1910, the Canadian government had seized almost half of their land to sell it to settlers despite signing a treaty thirty years earlier.

According to Justin Trudeau, Canada acted in an "undignified manner" with this expropriation, depriving the community of its "agriculturally productive and mineral-rich land".

“While this settlement does not make up for the past, we hope it leads to a brighter and brighter future for this generation and those to come,” added Mark Miller, Minister of Indigenous Relations.

“Our way of life has changed. It will never be like before, nothing can replace what was there," said Ouray Crowfoot, Chief of the Siksika Nation, who wore a traditional feather headdress, adding that the community now wanted to "go before".

For him, however, his people are witnessing a revival of their culture, their traditions, but also of 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 towards an era of prosperity,” he added.

This agreement concludes a request from the Siksika Nation that dates back to the 1960s. In November 2021, negotiators from both parties had reached an agreement, validated by a community vote last December.

Although relations between Ottawa and First Nations are defined by the “Indian Act”, a text of 1876, not all land claims of Aboriginal people have been settled in Canada.