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First Nation celebrates landmark achievement on Treaty Day

Last Updated Jun 17, 2022 at 11:16 am MST

Image supplied by Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) has announced the completion of Phase One of the Addition to Reserve (ATR) process.

Part of phase one included the acquisition of 89 residential lots in Fort Chipewyan.

On June 1, the federal government granted the ATR from the ACFN, which was announced during local Treaty Day celebrations on June 16.

Chief Allan Adam said the ACFN spent almost two decades advocating and negotiating with the Government of Canada.

“On behalf of Chief and Council, I want to acknowledge the tireless dedication of the leadership of ACFN, our legal counsel including Anita Thompson of Ackroyd Law, our CEO Maggie Farrington and our entire administrative team for making ATR a key priority to ensure a strong and sustainable future for our Members and our Nation.”

In 2007, the ACFN argued Canada failed to set aside reserve lands.

Both sides would later seek a negotiated settlement.

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller also extended his congratulations to the First Nation.

“The addition of the 89 residential lots in Fort Chipewyan will contribute to the continued social, cultural, and economic prosperity of the community and its members. Our government will continue to work together with First Nations to advance reconciliation and respect Treaty relationships.”

Unique History

Before 1970, ACFN members lived along the Athabasca Delta on a reserve.

The Nation said wildlife populations collapsed following the construction of the Bennett Dam.

With federal and provincial governments centralizing health, education, housing, and other essential services, most members relocated to Fort Chipewyan believing they had little choice.

Chief Adam said work on the ATR is unfinished.

“We will continue to advocate, negotiate, and press for reserve status for the land our Members and Nation deserve and need to ensure our future success. While we are proud of this recent achievement, we will not relent in our pursuit of the full completion of all phases of the Addition to Reserve process.”

Phase two includes additional lots in Fort Chipewyan and the Acden lot in Fort McMurray.

RMWB Council in 2019 voted to send a letter of support for the ACFN for their Addition to Reserve.

READ MORE: Council discussed developing the region

The ATR involves several legal, environmental, and political hurdles.