| Apr 06, 2006


Feature Article - April 6, 2006

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Feature Article - April 6, 2006

Land Claim talks resume

by Jeff Green

After a four-year hiatus, talks aimed at settling the Algonquin Land Claim have resumed.

The Land Claim territory stretches from Algonquin Park to the Quebec border, the entire Ontario side of the Ottawa Valley . Most of Addington Highlands , and North and Central Frontenac are part of the claim, as is much of Bedford District in South Frontenac.

Monthly meetings have commenced between Algonquin representatives and the federal and provincial government negotiators.

The federal and provincial governments agreed to the hiatus in order for the Algonquin side to settle internal matters.

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CB Pappin, the spokesperson for the Ontario Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat, said that the talks had been suspended “so that the Algonquin side could be able to come to the table and speak with a unified voice.”

A process was undertaken last year to elect a series of Algonquin National Representatives for the nine off-reserve Algonquin communities. They are joined at the table by the seven elected members of council from the Pikwakanagan First Nation.

The election process for Agonquin National Representatives was organised by Algonquin Chief Negotiator Robert Potts, of the Toronto law firm Blaney/McMurtry. Eligibility for the election was determined by Joan Holmes and Associates of Ottawa.

Many eligible Algonquins did not participate in the election process, and there were complaints from some of the candidates; but according to CB Pappin, the two governments recognise the legitimacy of the people who have come forward to the negotiation table.

“They have agreed to resume negotiations; that speaks for itself,” she said.

The Ontario chief negotiator is Brian Crane, and the interim negotiator for the federal side is Jean Francois Tardiff.

“The hope is that we can reach an agreement in principle in two or three years,” said Pappin.

Municipal township councils within the land claim region have received in-camera briefings in recent weeks concerning where the negotiations may be heading from a government standpoint. Similarly, meetings have been held among Algonquins at three locations in the claim territory.

Previous articles on the Algonquin Land Claim can be viewed at http://www.newsweb.ca/2005/Algonquin_index.html

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