Whitecap Dakota First Nation has officially signed their self-government agreement with Canada.

On Tuesday – Chief Darcy Bear and Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Mark Miller signed a self-government treaty officially giving Whitecap Dakota First Nation self-determination.

The treaty will give Whitecap jurisdiction on their reserve lands over several matters including governance, land, natural resources, education, finances, health, and social services.

“I am incredibly proud of our community as we make history together to better the lives of generations to come,” said Chief Darcy Bear in a statement. “Our Governance Treaty with Canada affirms our place as Dakota peoples alongside all other Aboriginal Peoples in Canada with constitutional protections. It also establishes a Whitecap Dakota government with the tools and status to continue to build our nation and contribute to Saskatchewan and Canada as whole.”

The self-governance treaty is the first of its kind in the province.

“Recognizing that this Treaty is long over-due and rightfully owed, this Treaty will set the foundation of our nation-to-nation relationship by formally recognizing Whitecap Dakota Nation as an Aboriginal People of Canada under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and affirming their inherent right of self-government,” said Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations in the same statement.

The self-government negotiations between the Whitecap and Canada began in 2009 and concluded in April 2023 with the official signing taking place this week.