March 10, 2010
The members of Bigstone Cree Nation ("BCN") in Northern Alberta have agreed to accept the terms of a Land Claim Settlement, after lengthy negotiations on their behalf led by Robert Potts of Blaney McMurtry's Aboriginal Law Group.
This settlement which is the largest one ever concluded in Alberta and one of the most complicated and richest First Nation Land Claim settlements in Canadian history involves at least one hundred and forty thousand acres of new Reserve land (some of the most oil rich Territory in Alberta), over a quarter of a billion dollars of compensation and assets to be administered by eleven trusts, the creation of a new First Nation (Peerless Trout First Nation - "PTFN") armed with new Membership and Election Codes, a revised political structure within BCN with a new Election Code there as well, two new elementary schools, a new high school, two new water treatment facilities and a new health care centre in addition to the aforementioned assets.
Fifty eight percent of those eligible to vote participated in the vote which took place over a two week period, and of those, an unprecedented ninety percent voted in favour of the settlement.
The documentation approved by the Members will now require formal cabinet approval at the federal and provincial levels and elections within PTFN before the settlement can be fully implemented.