Canada, Manitoba and Sioux Valley Dakota Nation Sign First Self-Government Agreements in Prairies

Aug 30, 2013, 15:30 ET from Government of Canada

SIOUX VALLEY DAKOTA NATION, MB, Aug. 30, 2013 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada, the Government of Manitoba and Sioux Valley Dakota Nation today signed the first-ever self-government agreements in the Prairies. Once in effect, the agreements remove Sioux Valley Dakota Nation from under portions of the Indian Act by providing them with greater control over decisions related to economic development, land management, education, housing and water, among other important issues, and by providing the mechanisms for good governance.

The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, joined Chief Vincent Tacan of Sioux Valley Dakota Nation; the Honourable Eric Robinson, Minister of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs for Manitoba; and First Nation community members at a special ceremony today to celebrate the historic achievement.

"These agreements release the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation from the grip of significant parts of the Indian Act and provide them with greater control over their own affairs," said Minister Valcourt. "They also provide the governance tools required to attract economic opportunities, and build stronger, more accountable, self-sufficient and prosperous communities. This is an important step forward on the path of reconciliation and demonstrates that by working together we can deliver results for all Canadians."

"I believe these agreements will ensure that Sioux Valley Dakota Nation has the ability to provide increased economic opportunities for future generations, while continuing to honour their traditions and culture," said Minister Robinson. "Together, through our excellent working relationship that has been developed with Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, these agreements can serve as a model for self-government for other First Nations in Manitoba."

"The Agreements reflect the collaboration of all parties over 20 years," said Chief Tacan. "We begin to lift impediments of the Indian Act and move to build a self-reliant, healthy and prosperous Dakota Nation. Sioux Valley Dakota Nation looks to a continuing spirit of government co-operation by Canada and Manitoba."

These self-government agreements are the result of successful negotiations between the Government of Canada, the Government of Manitoba and Sioux Valley Dakota Nation. Now that the agreements have been approved and signed by all parties, the next step is provincial and federal legislation to bring the agreements into effect.

The self-government agreements signed today will give Sioux Valley Dakota Nation authority to make new laws affecting its community in over 50 subject areas, including governance, economic and social development, education, housing and more.  Governance agreements will be harmonized with existing federal and provincial laws within the Canadian constitutional framework.

Once the self-government agreements with Sioux Valley Dakota Nation are brought into effect, the Government of Canada will have reached 20 comprehensive self-government agreements with 34 Aboriginal communities. Fostering good governance and strong accountability in First Nation communities increases investor confidence, supports economic partnerships and can improve living conditions.

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation has approximately 2,450 members with about 56 per cent living on reserve. The First Nation is located 50 kilometres west of Brandon, Manitoba.

SOURCE Government of Canada