On November 13, Premier Rachel Notley, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Dan Vandal, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services, on behalf of the Honourable Jane Philpott, joined Chief Billy Joe Laboucan and community members in Little Buffalo to celebrate a historic land claim and treaty benefits settlement.
The settlement includes 246 square kilometres of land and $18 million from Alberta, and $95 million in financial compensation from Canada, as well as the development of community infrastructure.
In a news release sent to the Leader ,the provincial government says all parties will continue to work together in the spirit of partnership and reconciliation to implement the settlement, with collaboration and planning for the infrastructure project and the community enhancement process set to begin in the coming weeks.
“Although it is a huge accomplishment in being able to sign the Final Agreement with Canada and Alberta; and a time for celebration among the people of Lubicon as it is a very significant milestone,” says Chief Laboucan.
He says the next major step is building much-needed infrastructure, such as warm and secure homes for children and an elders’ lodge; a state of the art school building and recreation centre as well as administration and health centre.
Laboucan adds the next step is building the infrastructure and providing a good secure economic future. That would mean careers and businesses in the oil industry, forestry and service industry.
“It is truly an honour to be able to celebrate this historic achievement with the Lubicon Lake Band on their territory as we take this major step in our shared journey of healing and reconciliation,” says Bennett. She adds Chief Laboucan has ensured that this settlement will not only deliver on treaty promises, but will improve community well-being and have a profoundly positive impact on the lives of Lubicon Lake Band members for many generations to come.
“It took generations to get to this day, when a major historic wrong can be made right and the families of Lubicon Lake Band can begin building a better future on their own land,” says Premier Notley. “This agreement shows how resilient and strong this community already is. We look forward to forging an even stronger relationship built on respect, cooperation and meaningful reconciliation.”
Premier Rachel Notley, Lubicon Chief Billy Joe Laboucan, Minister Carolyn Bennett and other dignitaries at the land claim settlement ceremony on Nov. 13.