By: Nick Pearce-Local Journalism Initiative, StarPhoenix

Little Pine First Nation in northwest Saskatchewan is recovering a sliver of its lost lands.

The province is transferring coal mineral rights associated with approximately 65 hectares “to continue the process of ensuring First Nations are able to obtain the amount of reserve land they were entitled to under (Treaty 6),” a Ministry of Energy and Resources spokeswoman said.

The lands are adjacent to the First Nation and the associated mineral rights didn’t have a lease, licence, claim or permit, she added.

The provincial order in council passed on Aug. 26, leaving about three to five months until it becomes effective when the minerals are set apart as reserve by the federal government, she said.

Little Pine First Nation Chief Wayne Semaganis welcomed the return of some the First Nation’s land and mineral rights, which it received under the treaty land entitlement agreement.

Treaty land entitlement applies to 33 First Nations in Saskatchewan that did not receive the amount of land they were promised under the Treaties.

“We make it sound like it’s a nice, friendly agreement … (when) it’s not. The government stole that land in the first place,” Semaganis said.

“You got to give it back. That’s the law. These things aren’t done out of generosity and kindness of heart on the part of the government.”

(PHOTO: Little Pine First Nation Chief Wayne Semaganis. By Dan Jones)