The Doig River First Nation will end a decades-long treaty land entitlement claim process by hosting an open house in Fort St. John on Dec. 5.
The claim settles a land debt Canada still owes the First Nation from the signing of Treaty 8 in 1900.
The event will be an information session focused on building relationships between the First Nation and Fort St. John, and educating residents on what Doig River has planned for its land selections in the region and for economic development in the city.
“Doig River has always been a part of the community and we believe that building relationships through good communication and partnerships will benefit all residents of the Northeast," said Chief Trevor Makadahay.
"We welcome conversations with our neighbours so that we can all work together for a brighter future for all. Treaty Land Entitlement is an important step to reconciliation with the governments of Canada, Alberta and British Columbia as it is a treaty of peace and friendship. We want to educate the public on what Treaty Land Entitlement means and how it will benefit all residents.”
Doig River is one-half of the former Fort St. John Beaver Band, which was to be given 128 acres for each of its members in 1914 as part of the provisions of Treaty 8.
However, many weren't counted as part of the land allocations at the time, and the band, along with the Blueberry River First Nations, launched a claim in 1999 to settle the difference.
Doig River has also purchased land in Fort St. John across from Margaret 'Ma' Murray Community School, where it's planning a commercial development that promises to be a huge economic investment in the city.
Doig River has been planning the development over the last few years in co-operation with the city and Urban Systems.
“Doig River is developing in partnership with the City of Fort St John to ensure a lasting economic benefit for all," Makadahay said.
"We are proposing to develop the land that fits within the city’s OCP and also affirms our presence in the urban community as the original peoples of the Fort St. John area.”
The open house takes place Wednesday, December 5, from 1 to 7 p.m. at the Northern Grand Hotel. Presentations will take place at 2 p.m. at 6 p.m.
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