Whitecap Dakota First Nation’s journey toward self-governance has taken another step.

On Friday, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller introduced Bill C-51 to the House of Commons.

If passed, this bill will put in effect a self-government treaty between Canada and Whitecap Dakota Nation formalizing the two parties previous agreement.

This Self-Government Treaty also recognizes Whitecap’s law-making powers on their reserve lands in over 30 areas.

Both Canada and Whitecap say the bill passing will be a “major step” for Whitecap to move out from under the Indian Act, implement their constitutional right to self-government.

“Our Self-Government Treaty is the first of its kind in Canada, and is the first step in moving forward towards a broader Whitecap Dakota Reconciliation Treaty with Canada,” said Chief Darcy Bear in a media release. “We look forward to passage of this implementing legislation so that Canada will truly recognize our inherent right to self-government and create the framework for a strong government-to-government relationship committed to achieving economic prosperity and wealth for our community.”

(PHOTO: Whitecap Dakota First Nation Chief Darcy Bear.  File Photo.)