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Indian Affairs minister offering modern treaty to NB chiefs

Indian Affairs minister offering modern treaty to NB chiefs

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Firday, January 12, 2001

MONCTON, N.B. The Federal Minister of Indian Affairs wants to start talking about a modern treaty with First Nations in New Brunswick. A similar offer was immediately accepted by chiefs in Nova Scotia earlier this week but the New Brunswick chiefs are being more cautious. 

  

“The chiefs of the First Nations of New Brunswick have requested a bit of time to be able to get back to their constituents” 

Things aren’t going as smoothly for the federal minister of Indian Affairs in New Brunswick as they are in Nova Scotia. 

In Nova Scotia, the process is ongoing between Ottawa, the province and the chiefs towards eventually negotiating a modern treaty. That treaty would interpret the 250-year-old treaties that form the basis of aboriginal rights in the Maritimes. 

But in New Brunswick, the chiefs are refusing to include the province in those talks. Robert Nault, federal minister of Indian affairs, says that will cause some problems. 

Nault says he is urging the chiefs to reconsider, but the chiefs say they are nations and they will only talk nation to nation. 

Chief second Peter Barlow, head of the union of New Brunswick Indians, says they want to talk this over with the people on the reserves. 

“The chiefs of the First Nations of New Brunswick have requested a bit of time to be able to get back to their constituents,” he says. 

Barlow says most chiefs are interested in negotiations. 

Still, the Chief of Burnt Church didn’t even attend the meeting with the minister. And that reserve has a spent the last two years refusing all deals with Ottawa.

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