The Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples met this morning in Ottawa to hear from a Dakota chief.

Vince Tacan heads up the Sioux Valley First Nation in Manitoba.

After a decade of negotiations, his band completed a self-government agreement with the federal government last year.

The deal will allow the band to create its own laws while implementing a business climate that’s friendlier to outside investors.

Tacan says he recently tried to attract a manufacturer onto his reserve who specializes in building tanks for oilfields.

The chief says he promised to provide work space, training dollars and a wealth of manpower — but it didn’t work out:

“I just couldn’t seem to entice him to come to my community to set up a third shift for his business.  It makes it difficult.  No one is going to come right out and say: “Your reserve isn’t stable as a result of laws and policies and leases” — those sort of things.”

Tacan says once the self-government agreement is fully established, he will be able to work on these challenges without the constraints he used to find himself under.

Once the Manitoba government signs off on it, the agreement will be the first self-government agreement on the Prairies that doesn’t involve a land claim.