LLRIB announces receipt of Canada’s formal offer for Cows and Plows final settlement agreement

The Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB) announced they received a “formal offer of settlement from Canada and is now working on a final agreement with Canada,” quoted from an April 5 LLRIB news release.

Chief and Council appointed a Settlement Planning Committee (SPC) “to engage with LLRIB members as to the use of the settlement funds, and then to recommend a settlement financial plan to Chief and Council,” quoted from the news release.

The SPC will meet with members throughout the week of April 21, 2024, to “obtain feedback from membership on how the funds should be used,” according to the news release.

“The meetings are for members only. The meetings will not be live streamed, and cellphones/recording devices will not be allowed.”

The meetings: La Ronge (JRMCC) Sunday, April 21 at the JRMCC between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.; Grandmother’s Bay, Monday, April 22 at the Band Hall, 9 a.m. to noon; Sucker River, Monday April 22 at the Band Hall, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Stanley Mission, Tuesday, April 23 at the Band Hall, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Hall Lake, Wednesday, April 24, at the Band Hall 9 a.m. to noon; Little Red River, Wednesday, April 24, at the White Hall, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Saskatoon, Thursday, April 26, at TCU Place, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Prince Albert, Friday, April 26, at Days Inn (formerly PA Inn), 9 a.m. to noon; Pinehouse Lake, Saturday, April 27, at the Pinehouse Lake high school, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“Once the financial plan and settlement agreement are complete, a ratification ate will be set where LLRIB membership will vote to decide if they accept the settlement and financial plan,” reads the news release.

The Cows and Plow, dates back to a “significant commitment under Treaty 6 with the Queen in 1876. The purpose was to assist First Nations move from a traditional hunting and gathering lifestyle to “align with Euro-Canadian agriculture or lifestock raising.

“Treaty-related issues arising from this commitment are commonly referred to as Cows and Plows,” quoted from a LLRIB “Frequently Asked Questions” document released with a LLRIB news release dated June 9, 2023.

Negotiations have been ongoing with Canada since the claim was made in 2012 and they remain unique and confidential for each Treaty 6 First Nation as set in a Non-Disclosure Agreement LLRIB signed with Canada, according to the June 9 news release.

“In 2023, Canada offered to negotiate LLRIB’s Claim through an Accelerated Process. LLRIB agreed to Canada’s proposal, and an Agricultural Benefits Committee was established to facilitate the negotiations,” quoted from an LLRIB update Dec. 18, 2023.

Negotiations were “productive and ongoing and included meetings with Gary Anandasagaree, minister of Crows-Indigenous Relations.

“This meeting was productive, and the Agricultural Benefits Committee is hopeful that Canada will make a formal offer of settlement in the spring of 2024.

 Negotiations on the LLRIB Claim have been ongoing, with a partial validations on the Agricultural Benefits Claim under Treaty 6 in 2021, according to the Frequently Asked Questions, which also noted that Canada had shown willingness to begin accelerated discussions regarding LLRIB’s Claim.

The ABC and legal counsel were preparing for discussions with members in-person, perhaps as early as the summer of 2023. They are happening in April 2024.

“It is important to note that each Nation’s negotiation process is confidential. As of today (June 9, 2023) no Treaty 6 Nation has been compensated for “Cows and Plows,” also quoted from the Frequently Asked Questions.

Due to the closeness of the Northern Advocate going to press, we will carry more on the Cows and Plows negotiations process and impacts in the next edition.