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Land Claims and "Modern Treaties"

Jamie Kneen Communications and Outreach Coordinator responsible for: strategic research, social media, and public engagement; our Africa program, environmental assessment, and uranium mining.

Indigenous communities can also participate in an on-going process of negotiating land claims or "modern treaties." The comprehensive claims process defines the land base owned by an Aboriginal group and how jurisdictional decision-making and control over resources between levels of government will be divided or co-managed. Land claims agreements often also include a significant cash settlement to compensate for the surrender or extinguishment of Aboriginal right and title over significant amounts of land and resources.

Land claims agreements are, however, a double-edged sword. Canadian governments are currently showing a renewed interest in signing treaties as a means of clarifying land ownership and thus opening up new lands to mineral development. Furthermore, the rights granted to governments and corporations in treaties are often exploited to their fullest extent and beyond, while the rights granted to First Nations remain unfulfilled.