Treaty Land Entitlement
With an ever-growing population Onion Lake needs to ensure it has the area and land to house those members. That is where the Treaty Land Entitlement Framework Agreement comes in, as it allows many First Nations to continue to expand their borders.
Onion Lake is very unique in that it can acquire and create reserve land in both Saskatchewan and Alberta, and since the Cree Nation signed into the TLEFA in 1992 it has turned 92,000 acres into reserve land from a potential of 108,550 acres. Approximately 12,000 acres in Treaty Land Entitlement lands are waiting to be moved to reserve land, and Onion Lake still has the ability to acquire approximately 4,550 acres more. Those TLE lands – considered private lands – are held in trust under the corporation of 611206 Saskatchewan Ltd.
There is still considerable work to be done before those 12,000 acres of TLE lands can be turned into reserve land. There is approximately 1,000 acres left in Alberta, and then an additional 11,000 acres in Saskatchewan. There is also the business of the minerals that lie under the TLE lands – which are being sought under the TLEFA article 5.08. That process relies heavily on the mineral disposition holders working with Indian Oil and Gas Corporation (IOGC), and the federal and provincial governments. Some of the initial steps in this process are up to the mineral holders, as they must freely agree to the changes as set out within the TLEFA. It can be a slow process to complete but it continues to steadily move forward.
Additional steps to be completed throughout the year:
- meet with the County of Vermilion River and resolve third-party issues
- complete a Municipal Service Agreement that is mutually beneficial for OLCN and the County of Vermilion River
- had Mineral Disposition Holders agree to release their provincial disposition to a federal disposition
- work with IOGC and update files to prepare for reserve creation
- complete the remaining lands that have third-party concerns
- complete the paperwork to transfer the lands with no concerns to surface reserve
- start creating reserve from the TLE selections this year