The Innu Nation of Labrador has been negotiating terms of the agreement with the Federal Government since the agreement-in-principal was first signed in 2008.
This morning, Innu Nation Grand Chief Joseph Riche and Deputy Grand Chief George Rich, met with Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs John Duncan to sign the financial side of the agreement. Minister Duncan explained that this would allow the Innu government to take the agreement back to their communities for a vote. The minister ceded that all issues between the two governments have not yet been settled.
“There are some issues that need to be negotiated over the next weeks in order to get to the agreement in principal.”
These issues include archeological and heritage issues as well as the concerns of the Innu Nation concerning military low level flying over Innu territory—an issue that brought international attention to the Innu of Labrador during low-level flying protests in the 1980’s.
The financial agreement with the provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador was signed in 2008 and involved a compensation package from the Upper Churchill of $2 million per year from the date the IBA is ratified until 2041. Minister Duncan said the compensation package negotiated between the federal government and the Innu Nation will be over and above the compensation at the provincial level.
The Innu Nation has been pushing for a larger compensation package for the Upper Churchill project where flooding from the project destroyed Innu lands and camps on the land.
Minster Duncan said details of the financial agreement would not be released until the Innu people ratify the agreement.