A recently signed self-governance treaty was the topic of celebration at an event at Whitecap Dakota First Nation Monday night.

Newly appointed Indigenous relations minister Gary Anandasangaree, Whitecap Dakota First Nation Chief Darcy Bear and several community members were on hand to for the ceremony.

After over a decade of negotiations, the self-governance treaty between Canada and Whitecap was signed last year. The treaty would become recognized under Canadian law earlier this year.

The ceremony was a way to celebrate that achievement.

“On behalf of all Whitecap Dakota members, we are here to celebrate the recent passage of Bill C-51 that affirms our Nation’s constitutional status as Aboriginal Peoples of Canada and a self-governing Dakota Nation within Canada,” said Whitecap Dakota First Nation Chief Darcy Bear.

“This Treaty marks a new beginning for Whitecap Dakota Nation as they advance their right to self-government and their vision of a thriving future for their community,” said Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Gary Anandasangaree, who was appointed to the position last week. “I look forward to building on this Treaty relationship by advancing joint priorities and working towards reconciliation of Whitecap Dakota’s rights in Canada.”

Now that the treaty has passed federal legislation an effective date for the treaty will be decided upon by the parties.

As the next step, Whitecap Dakota First Nation will begin passing their own laws to create and run their governance system.