The federal government has signed a memorandum of understanding with a group of people seeking Treaty status.

The MOU will be based on the Federal Court’s 2020 decision in Watson-Bear, where they found that the Crown unlawfully combined the historic Chacachas Band with Ochapowace First Nation in 1884. The Court found that Chacachas is entitled to assert ongoing Treaty rights under Treaty 4 as a distinct Treaty First Nation with constitutionally protected rights.

“Chacachas is a prime example of what can be achieved when Treaty signatories commit to work together for a common goal. We look forward to the challenges ahead – to implement the Treaty promises made nearly 150 years ago – and to rebuild our Nation for the betterment of this generation and those to follow,” said Okimawkan Charlie Bear Chacachas Treaty Nation.

The MOU does not resolve the Watson-Bear litigation, rather it is part of the process of trying to find fair and just solutions outside of the courts that work for all parties.

“This co-developed Memorandum of Understanding marks a new beginning with Chacachas as we move forward as Treaty partners in our nation-to-nation relationship. It is my hope that this progress can serve as a symbol of our dedication to work together on shared solutions that advance Chacachas’ priorities for reconciliation and their vision for self-governance and a better future,” explained Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Gary Anandasangaree.

The MOU with the Chacachas will set out parameters to find common ground on moving forward to formal negotiations. Part of this will include self-government and how to preserve the Chacachas culture, language and heritage. A formal signing took place Thursday in Saskatchewan.

(Photo courtesy of Facebook.)