Concluding and Implementing Land Claim and Self-Government Agreements

Sahtu Dene and Métis

Agreement

  • Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement (1993)

Agreement Type

  • Regional comprehensive land claim agreement (land and resources agreement)

Signatories

  • Sahtu Dene and Métis
  • Government of Canada
  • Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT)

Map of Settlement Region

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overview

In July 1993, the Sahtu Dene and Métis voted to approve the Sahtu Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement (SDMCLCA.)  After being ratified by the Sahtu Dene and Métis, and approved by the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories, the Agreement was signed on September 6, 1993, in Tulita.  The Sahtu Dene and Métis Land Claim Settlement Act came into effect on June 23, 1994.

Under the Agreement, the Sahtu Dene and Métis received title to 41,437 square kilometres of land in the Northwest Territories (NWT), an area slightly larger than Vancouver Island.  Included in that total, the Sahtu also own 1,813 square kilometres of subsurface, including mines and minerals that may be found to exist within, upon or under such lands. 

The Sahtu have the right to harvest all species of wildlife and the exclusive right to harvest fur bearers throughout the Sahtu Settlement Area (SSA). The Sahtu have guaranteed participation on institutions of public government responsible for renewable resource management, land use planning, and land and water use within the Settlement Area, as well as environmental impact assessment and review within the Mackenzie Valley.

The Sahtu, through the Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated,  received $130 million in tax-free capital transfers over a fifteen year period. The Sahtu also receive an annual share of resource royalties collected by the Government of Canada from resource development in the Mackenzie Valley. 

The agreement provides for the negotiation of community-based self-government agreements that will be brought into effect through federal and territorial legislation.The Sahtu communities are Fort Good Hope, Norman Wells, Tulita, Délįnę and Colville Lake. All communities are currently involved in self-government negotiation processes with Canada and the GNWT.

Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated (SSI)

The SSI was formed by the seven Sahtu land corporations (four Dene land corporations and three Métis land corporations) on June 23, 1994, with the enactment of the SDMCLCA.

The SSI is mandated to:

  • Assist all members to negotiate and enter into arrangements with the federal and territorial governments concerning the implementation of the agreement;
  • Undertake any other activities related directly or indirectly to the interests and concerns of its members with specific reference to the implementation of the agreement;
  • Engage in any studies, education activities or other activities related to the environmental impact on the lands, air, waters and health of the residents of the SSA;
  • Undertake discussions with industries and government whose activities or decisions affect the environment in a manner which adversely affects the interests of the residents of the SSA; and
  • Assist and enable its members to intervene and participate in any hearings, environmental impact assessments, policy or legislative reviews, or other decision-making or review processes, which relate to the environmental or economic interests and concerns of its members.

The SSI also participates in the implementation of the agreement through the nomination of board members to the implementing bodies and management of the capital payment through the Sahtu Trust. The SSI has a coordinating role in activities involving other designated Sahtu organizations and ensures that the government, industry and public are aware of the functions of the various implementing bodies, such as land access. It has a seat on the tripartite Implementation Committee tasked with overseeing implementation of the SDMCLCA.

The SSI is the only joint Sahtu Dene and Métis regional Aboriginal organization. It is the point of contact for government agencies and departments on issues including education, health, environment, highways, wildlife, political development, economic development and implementation of the SDMCLCA Agreement.

For further information about the Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated click here to visit their website.

Sahtu Communities

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  What is the Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement (SDMCLCA)?
The SDMCLCA is a comprehensive land claim agreement; a modern treaty that provides certainty and clarity with respect to ownership and use of land and resources in the Sahtu Settlement Area.

2. Over what geographic area does the SDMCLCA apply?
The Sahtu Settlement Area is situated in the northwestern  NWT, with the Inuvialuit Settlement Region to the north, the Gwich’in Settlement Area to the northwest Mowhi Gogha De Nutlee/Wekeezhi Resource Management Area to the southeast and the Dehcho region to the southwest.  There are five communities in the Sahtu Settlement Area, including Fort Good Hope, Norman Wells, Tulita, Délįnę and Colville Lake.

3. What rights and benefits related to land and resources did the Sahtu receive under the SDMCLCA?
The Sahtu Dene and Métis received fee simple title to 41,437 square kilometres of land in the NWT.  Included in that total, the Sahtu Dene and Métis also own 1,813 square kilometres of subsurface, including mines and minerals that may be found to exist upon or under these lands.  In addition, the Sahtu Dene and Métis received $130 million paid over 15 years and an annual share of the mineral royalties generated from the production of resources in the Mackenzie Valley.

4. Can the Sahtu Dene and Métis negotiate self-government?
Yes, chapter 5 of the SDMCLCA provides that government and the Sahtu Dene and Métis can negotiate self-government agreements appropriate to their unique circumstances and in conformity with the Constitution of Canada. SElf-government negotiations will address the desire of the Sahtu Dene and Métis to have self-government exercised as close to the community level as possible.

5. Who is eligible to be a participant of the SDMCLCA?
A person is eligible to be enrolled as a participant of the SDMCLCA if they are a Canadian citizen and are Sahtu Dene and Métis as defined by the Agreement.  A person is also eligible if they are a Canadian citizen of Aboriginal ancestry, are resident in the Sahtu Settlement Area, and are accepted by the community acceptance process. "Sahtu Dene", "Sahtu Dene and Métis ", "Sahtu Dene or Métis" or "Sahtu Métis " means a person or persons:

(a) of Slavey, Hare or Mountain ancestry who resided in, or used and occupied the settlement area on or before December 31, 1921, or a descendant of such person; or

(b) who was adopted as a minor by a person in (a) under the laws of any jurisdiction or under any custom of the communities comprised by the persons in (a), or is a descendant of a person so adopted

6. What subject matters are included in the SDMCLCA?
Volume 1 of the SDMCLCA contains 29 chapters including  topics such as:

  • Eligibility and Enrolment
  • Self-government
  • Financial Payments
  • Resource Royalties
  • Economic Measures
  • Wildlife Harvesting and Management
  • Sahtu Land
  • Access to Sahtu Land
  • Water Rights and Management
  • Subsurface Resources
  • Land and Water Regulations
  • Heritage Resources

Volume 2 contains the description of lands to be transferred to the Sahtu Dene and Métis to become Sahtu lands. 

7. How is wildlife managed in the Sahtu Settlement Area?      
Although government retains the ultimate jurisdiction for wildlife and wildlife habitat, the Sahtu Renewable Resources Board was created as the main organization responsible for wildlife management in the Sahtu Settlement Area.  The board was established to act in the public interest and is comprised of an equal number of Sahtu and government nominees.