Treaty Land Entitlement Agreements

4.51 In 2005, we found limited information on targets, performance forecasts, schedules and performance reports in India and northern Canada. We recommended that the Department report periodically the results of contractual arrangements for land rights, including progress in meeting its legal obligations, costs incurred and the number of hectares selected and converted. We also recommended that the Department inform the Department of its efforts to reduce the time it has spent converting selected lands into reserves. 4.29 We also found that communications with First Nations were neither coordinated nor maintained. We recommended that the Department work more closely with First Nations to develop an action plan for land selection, including a strategy for turning these countries into reserves. Specific allegations relate to complaints made by First Nations to the federal government for non-compliance with their legal obligations arising from historical contracts and/or the way it managed First Nations funds or assets. The federal government resolves these claims by negotiating specific compensation agreements with First Nations. Although the State Government has not signed these agreements, it is working with the federal government to allow additional reserve allocations resulting from specific debt clearing agreements that contain a land element. 4.57 Sustained management attention in implementing our 2005 recommendations could help the department continue to process outstanding land selection, reduce time and meet Canada`s contractual obligations. We reviewed the Department`s progress in implementing recommendations from an audit we conducted in 2005 in which we identified a number of specific deficiencies in the Department`s management practices in meeting contractual land licensing obligations in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

The 2005 audit showed that limited progress had been made in moving the large number of hectares selected by First Nations in these provinces to reserve status. The NCN plays an active and decisive role in implementation by selecting new reserve areas. The Manitoba Treaty Land Entitlement Framework Agreement recognized the claim of the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation (a First Nation community north of Winnipeg) on a total area of 14,481 hectares. The First Nation told us that it had a large number of economic development projects that it intended to follow once the selected countries had been converted into reserves.

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