Lubicon Lake Nation Responds to Premier Notley’s Settlement Announcement
Issues Still Remain Unresolved says Chief Bernard Ominayak
LITTLE BUFFALO, AB, Nov. 20, 2018 – In a letter sent to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley yesterday, longtime Chief Bernard Ominayak of the Muskotew Sakahikan Enowuk which is the traditional Government of the Lubicon Lake Nation (the “Nation”), outlined a number of remaining concerns faced by the First Nation, despite a recently announced Treaty Land Entitlement Settlement between Lubicon Lake Band #453 (the “Band”), Alberta and Canada. The Nation is the traditional governance structure of the Lubicon Cree people which has functioned for hundreds of years and is separate from the Lubicon Lake Band #453 which was only recently created by Canada under the authority of the Indian Act in 1973 and revived in 2013.
The five page letter to Premier Notley raises concerns about ongoing court actions by the Nation against Alberta and Canada asserting aboriginal rights and aboriginal title. That case remains before the Alberta Court of Queens Bench and was not dismissed or discontinued as part of the announced settlement. “Alberta and Canada were well aware of those outstanding legal issues and have intentionally ignored them and our Nation in that settlement process.” Said Chief Ominayak from the Nation office in Little Buffalo.
Other points raised by the Nation and Chief Ominayak included:
- Previous NDP statements in support of the United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, which are contradicted by ignoring the Nation
- Some of the land Alberta intends to transfer to Canadaand for a reserve are occupied by the Nation and Nation citizens, rather than the band. Those citizens do not consent to the transfer or conversion of those lands to a reserve for the Band
- The Nation is not opposed to the Settlement generally, and would support Alberta choosing alternative lands to meet their obligations to the Band while preserving the interests of the Nation
The letter closed with Chief Ominayak indicating a willingness to continue communications and negotiations: “the Nation remains willing and open to find a mutually acceptable resolution with respect to our unextinguished Aboriginal rights and Aboriginal title that is fair to our citizens”
The Muskotew Sakahikan Enowuk is the traditional Government of the Lubicon Lake Nation for the Lubicon Cree people who comprise an indigenous collectivity who lives in what is now Northwest Alberta in the community of Little Buffalo. Learn more by visiting our website: www.LubiconLakeNation.ca; Twitter @LubiconNation; or Facebook: Lubicon.Nation
For further information: Garrett Tomlinson, Communications Coordinator, Muskotew Sakahikan Enowuk / Lubicon Lake Nation, 7806183794, Consultation@LubiconLakeNation.ca