INAC Defends Refusal To Grant Reserves To Bands

Friday, December 19, 2008 at 14:31



A spokesman for Indian Affairs says the reason why the department recently refused land claims to the Peter Chapman and Chaykostaypasin bands is because it doesn’t consider them to be First Nations.


Members of both bands have been fighting to get their own reserves for several decades now.


But Ralph Brant says INAC has carefully reviewed claims by the two groups, and he says, under the Indian Act, it can’t recognize them as First Nations.


Brant admits the government was willing to accept a portion of the claim ten years ago.


However, he says case law has changed since then, and “there’s no longer an outstanding lawful obligation” on the part of the government.


Ottawa contends the bands were lawfully amalgamated into the James Smith Cree Nation and Cumberland House Cree Nation.


The two chiefs for the bands in question say Ottawa should be recognizing them under treaty, not the Indian Act.


They also say they may turn to the courts to get the land they feel is owed to them.