Whitecap Dakota Nation celebrates Self-Government Treaty |

A celebration was held at Whitecap Dakota Nation in Saskatchewan for a self-governing treaty that recognizes the First Nation.

The Self-Government Treaty recognizes the lawmaking powers of the First Nation, with it including governance, land management, natural resources, business development, membership, cultural matters, language revitalization and preservation, education, financial management and accountability, health and social services.

Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations Gary Anandasangaree also attended the ceremony and said he recognizes how deeply flawed the Indian Act is.

“We recognize the longstanding endemic racism that’s built in the Indian Act, however, unless we get to this point there is no mechanism that will give an interim support to First Nations communities,” Anandasangaree said.

Click to play video: 'Whitecap Dakota First Nation moves toward self governance'

Whitecap Dakota First Nation moves toward self governance

It was noted that the Self-Government Treaty was developed in partnership with Whitecap Dakota Nation, with negotiations starting in 2012.

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The treaty was signed and announced in May and received royal assent on June 22.

Minister Gary Anandasangaree and Chief Darcy Bear spoke about the Self-Government Treaty on Monday.

Global News/ Slavo Kutas

“Congratulations to the Whitecap Dakota Nation, its leadership, Elders and all those who worked for so long at the negotiating table to bring this historic Treaty to life. Recognizing that this Treaty is long over-due and rightfully owed, this Treaty will set the foundation of our nation-to-nation relationship by formally recognizing Whitecap Dakota Nation as an Aboriginal People of Canada under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and affirming their inherent right of self-government,” said the previous Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations Marc Miller back when the treaty was signed in May.

Chief Bear spoke with Global News back on July 21, saying they’ve been on this path, going as far back as 1979 with their community creating their own election act, to more recent developments to allow them to self-govern their land.

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“We’ve gone from a 70 per cent unemployment rate down to a 6 per cent unemployment rate.”

He said self-governing has helped their community, and lawmaking will further benefit them.

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