LLRIB releases Cow and Plows update

Photo from Lac La Ronge Indian Band website, https://llrib.com/

With the community meetings complete, the next step in the Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB)Treaty and Agricultural benefits negotiation process with Canada involves a few steps before a final settlement is reached, according to a LLRIB news release dated May 3, 2024 and signed by Chief Tammy Cook-Searson.

The Settlement Planning Committee (SPC) will continue to “review feedback sent to ab@llrib.ca … Please note that in order to move this matter forward quickly, the SPC will only be responding to emails sent no later than 12 p.m. [noon][Monday] May 13, 2024,” reads the news release.

The SPC will then complete its work and forward their final recommendations to Chief and Council.

“LLRIB and Canada are still negotiating the final terms of the settlement agreement. As such, we are required to maintain confidentiality until we have come to an agreement on the terms of the Settlement Agreement,” reads the news release.

When negotiations are complete, the SPC has made its recommendations and “Council has adopted a Settlement Financial Plan, preparations will be made for a ratification vote,” quoted from the news release.

“If the settlement is ratified, LLRIB should receive the settlement funds four to six months after that vote,” quoted from the news release.

The Treaty and Agricultural Benefits claims, known as Cows and Ploughs/Plows, grew out of negotiations with Queen Victoria in 1876 involving Canada in a commitment to assist First Nations transition from a hunting/gathering lifestyle to a more Eurocentric agriculture/livestock raising practice.

LLRIB held individual meetings within its six communities, La Ronge, Grandmother’s Bay, Sucker River, Stanley Mission, Hall Lake and Little Red River, along with Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Pinehouse Lake between Sunday April 21 and Saturday, April 27.

The meetings were open to members only, with no recording or electronic equipment allowed, and were each confidential.

Canada did not follow through on its commitment at the time; negotiations are going on now with a number of First Nations within treaties 4, 5, 6, and 10 territories according to a Canada.ca news release dated April 23, 2024. Each claim is confidential, as each is unique from another claim.

ERFN signs Cows and Ploughs agreement

In separate claim and negotiations, English River First Nation, Patuanak, in Treaty 10 territories voted to accept a settlement agreement on Oct. 13, 2023, according to a Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (IRNAC) news release dated March 14, 2024.

“Canada will provide English River First Nation compensation in the amount of $90,860,500 for failing to uphold its promise to provide assistance for agriculture or stock raising or other work, as well as Canada’s failure to provide flags, medals, suits of clothing, and ammunition and twine,” quoted from the (IRNAC) news release.

According to the news release the settlement agreement with English River is “an important step to improve the economic and labour resources for English River’s present and future generations” as there is a “significant socio-economic gaps between First Nations and non-First Nations people in Canada” which is a “direct result of inequitable and counter-productive colonial policies and Canada’s failure to honour and implement treaty promises, which often led to the marginalization of first Nations from the economy,” quoted from the news release. Also, according to the IRNAC news release, Canada is embarking on a “new era guided by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People’s Act, honouring and implementing treaty obligations and properly compensating Indigenous Peoples for what was unjustly withheld in fundamental to advancing reconciliation in Canada and rebuilding trust with Indigenous communities.”