Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Gary Anandasangaree was in Saskatoon Tuesday morning announcing the settlement of several historic claims in Saskatchewan.

14 different First Nations under both Treaty 6 and Treaty 4 across the province have settled their claims with Canada.

The Specific Claims stem from a historical grievance where the government failed to provide Chief and council salaries to the 14 First Nations between 1885 and 1951. These First Nations were erroneously labeled as rebellion First Nations following the Northwest Rebellion and had their salary funds rescinded.

The 14 First Nations include: Beardy’s and Okemasis Cree Nation, Big River First Nation, Flying Dust First Nation, Frog Lake First Nation, Kehewin Cree Nation, Little Pine First Nation, Lucky Man First Nation, Mosquito, Grizzly Bear’s Head, Lean Man First Nation, One Arrow First Nation, Onion Lake Cree Nation, Poundmaker First Nation, Red Pheasant First Nation, Sweetgrass First Nation, Thunderchild First Nation,

Beardy’s & Okemasis Cree Nation settled with the government over this claim last year for a total of $4,101,046.

The government announced Tuesday that it will pay just over $37 million to the 14 First Nations for their historic claims, with the settlement with Beardy’s and Okemasis included in this amount.

Many of the chiefs spoke positively about the settlements and Minister Gary Anandasangaree’s presence for the announcement.

“We are pleased with Canada’s response to this important matter,” said Beardy’s and Okemasis Cree Nation Chief Edwin Ananas.

“This is very significant especially to our elders, to our children… This agreement demonstrates that our treaties are as relevant today as they were in 1876,” added red Pheasant First Nation Chief Lex Brunson.

“At its core, this settlement is about honouring treaties,” echoed Lorie Whitecalf Chief of Sweetgrass First Nation. “We acknowledge the work of the Minister, and this government, and the many First Nations who have been pressing this case forward for years.”

According to the federal government, the settlements represent Canada’s commitment to addressing historical wrongs for First Nations people.

“For too long, Canada has withheld Treaty annuities and salary payments that were rightfully owed to our communities – as a country, it’s our duty to acknowledge and address these historic wrongs and move forward together,” said Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Gary Anandasangaree.

Tuesdays announcement marked one stop in Anandasangaree’s first major trip as the newly appointed Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.

When asked about the trip he says his first goals in his new position will be about “listening.”

Anandasangaree was also on Whitecap Dakota First Nation on Monday celebrating their recently signed self-governance treaty.

(Photo: Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Gary Anandasangaree speaks with one of the First Nation chiefs apart of the settlement. Photo by Joel Willick)