The Wood Mountain Lakota Nation in southwest Saskatchewan said it has reached a tentative settlement of a land dispute on reserve land, ending a decade of negotiations.

“The dispute centered around a unilateral decision made by Canadian officials to take away half of Wood Mountain Lakota’s original reserve around the time of the First World War. The Government of Canada gave those lands to returning non-Indigenous soldiers and settlers, effectively turning over the First Nation’s land to private owners,” said the First Nation.

“Under the proposed settlement agreement, Canada will pay approximately $50 million in compensation for the loss of use of the lands and has agreed that the First Nation can buy nearly 5,700 acres of land to replace what was taken.”

A ratification vote will take place in January, as the First Nation will hold an information meeting December 14.

“While it’s been a long time coming, the proposed settlement agreement shows the commitment of both our leadership and the Government of Canada to move past simply talking about reconciliation. This is truly ‘reconcili-ACTION’”, said Chief Ellen B. Lecaine. “We will use this settlement to assist our families and communities today and to protect the interests of future generations. We faced many challenges when the land was taken and this settlement is about moving forward. We will use the lessons of the past to address the needs at the heart of our Nation and our families.”

The Wood Mountain Lakota Nation is located approximately 65 kilometers southwest of the Town of Assiniboia.

(Photo courtesy of Wood Mountain Lakota Nation Facebook.)