Yukon News

Kaska seek $1.5B settlement, 23 per cent of Yukon in land claim

Andrew Seal & Sharon Nadeem Friday June 16, 2017

Courtesy Government of Yukon/George Morgan


Ross River Dena Council Chief Jack Caesar, left, and Liard First Nation Chief George Morgan say they were unaware of a proposal for a $1.5-billion settlement submitted to the federal government by the Kaska Dena Council.

The Kaska Dena Council is asking the federal government for a $1.5-billion settlement and political control over 240,000 square kilometres of its traditional territory in a potential land claim.

The claims were outlined in a letter, first reported by CBC, sent by the Kaska Dena Council in April to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett and federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson–Raybould.

Bennett’s office confirmed it has received the proposal and are currently reviewing it.

There was no indication of how the Kaska Dena Council determined the sum of $1.5 billion — which is to be transferred “as a one-time lump sum” — or what it would be used for.

The money would be divided equally between Liard First Nation, Ross River Dena Council, and the Kaska Dena Council, which represents the two mentioned First Nations and three more in B.C.

However, both Chief George Morgan of the Liard First Nation and Chief Jack Caesar of Ross River Dena Council were unaware of the proposed settlement.

Morgan, who was elected earlier this month, said he and his council were disappointed they weren’t consulted, especially considering the gravity of any agreement regarding Indigenous title.

“We have no idea what the previous chief and council were aware of or involved in. They were working with the Dena Council but it’s hard to say what they knew about this,” he told the News.

Jack Caesar hopes his community will have more answers next week, adding they were surprised when they heard the news on CBC. “Our community needs to be consulted on this,” he said.

The proposal “should not be understood to mean that the Kaska Dena Council will represent all Kaska for the purposes of negotiations,” wrote George Miller, chair of the Kaska Dena Council.

The letter included a map of the area the Kaska Dena Council claims as its traditional territory. It includes 23 per cent of Yukon, 10 per cent of British Columbia, and a portion of the Northwest Territories. The N.W.T. section overlaps portions of asserted territory of the Dehcho First Nations and the Sahtu settlement area.

The proposal calls on the federal government to recognize Kaska sovereignty and political control over the area and to ensure that the Yukon government “will not have administration and control over the Kaska territory.” Additionally, a $50-million annual payment is to be made “in perpetuity to a Kaska entity, to be designated by the Kaska.”

Only three First Nations in Yukon have not negotiated land claim agreements – the Ross River Dena Council, the Liard First Nation and the White River First Nation, based in Beaver Creek, which is not included in this letter. The letter comes after a recent court case between Ross River Dena Council and the federal government indicated that the government is open to negotiating outside of the Yukon’s Umbrella Final Agreement (UFA).

If the federal government accepts the terms of the Framework Agreement, it would be by far the largest financial settlement between Canada and an Indigenous group. The 13 signatories in of the 1990 UFA, received a total of $242.67 million. The only other agreement over a billion dollars is the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement at $1.14 billion, which was distributed over 14 years.

Only Miller signed the letter. He declined to comment.

Contact Andrew Seal and Sharon Nadeem at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


RumRunner wrote:
8:26am Friday June 23, 2017

Oh yes…

Entitlement at it finest.

RumRunner wrote:
10:45pm Thursday June 22, 2017

With 1.5B payout and a $50-million annual payment is to a Kaska entity, who knew Capitalism could reach so far?!

Good game on this one. Way to sink the ship.

Rainyday wrote:
8:59pm Tuesday June 20, 2017

I think it should be ask Kdc George - he might have the answer for the $ grab - don’t ask his son George of lfn.

blind lead the blind wrote:
10:16am Tuesday June 20, 2017

I agree with “So tired of the fighting”, get real, stop leading people down false road, that all I have seen so far is fighting, fighting.  Leaders need to act like leaders.  Your no different than the government of Canada just keep fighting, tearing one another apart, slandering each other, but yet no one wants to work together and find answers, just let them continue leading us around.  Chief & Council angry so we have to be angry, they tell us what they are mad about and we follow, instead of finding out for ourselves what is true or not.  We are a nation, we don’t need to run to newspapers, we are always in the newspapers, start acting like leaders, face each other.  Stop trying to make us mad at each other. We have so much problems. New leaders come in and say they don’t know what is going on, than ask the last Chiefs they know!

Sonny Crow wrote:
11:08pm Monday June 19, 2017

Sounds like a gut shot to me.  A slow painful death of any hope of getting a settlement anytime soon.  Mr. Miller has settled the argument of whether or not he has any ability to be in public office.  His wreck-less and outrageous claim makes a mockery of any advancement aboriginal people have been making to date.  I had high hopes for the federal liberals but they too are proving us wrong; they had no better idea of how to run a government than the last guys.  And they are also making costly and foolish mistakes which will hurt Canada if they don’t stop their bleeding hearts.  And that’s what scares me; that Justin will actually entertain this outlandish proposal for a photo op and another pat on the back from first nations.

Yukon Mac wrote:
6:39pm Monday June 19, 2017

Sad to see an article written without professional investigative journalism, which would have focused on the fact that neither Chief Caesar of RRDC nor Chief Morgan of LFN had any involvement in or even knowledge of this.  It reeks of skullduggery, and yet the way it has been reported (as though it was a real request by legitimate First Nation leadership) plays into all the negative stereotypes of aboriginal societies held by racists.  Shame.

The real story here is: Who is behind this and why? What was their agenda - to cause a stir? To make leadership look bad and maybe reclaim the throne?  An ill-fated and unsophisticated attempt at a cash grab?  Or just a stunt by somebody who was dared to do it by a friend?  If so, they must be having a good laugh at how the media all thought it was real.

Captin m wrote:
5:57am Monday June 19, 2017

What happened with kaska concerned for land protection and good governance?  Why are they so quiet now-shouldn’t they be on this land issue like a dog on a bone?

Kaptinm wrote:
5:44am Monday June 19, 2017

How can a society over rule chiefs in our territory?  With no consultation whatsoever- something smells mighty fishy round here.

AM wrote:
8:15pm Saturday June 17, 2017

This could have great repercussion because our Agreements will have to be adjusted to be on par with this - it says in the Agreements that “if other First Nations in Canada are granted further constitutional rights within the laws of Canada, those rights will also apply to Yukon First Nations as set out in Yukon First Nation Final Agreements” We did not get and I suspect Canada will not give sovereignty, which will have to radiate out to ALL who have Aboriginal Title (which few do).

Kaskadena wrote:
4:25pm Saturday June 17, 2017

I’m also Kaska Dena of Ross River. Me and my family want our land not your money!!!! George Miller you don’t have any rights to throwing us under the bus without consenting our first nation. What happened to one land one people!? Everyone should of been consulted first and have the voice to voice what they want for their families!

Excuse me! wrote:
11:15am Saturday June 17, 2017

Kaska Dena Council is currently negotiating a land claim in BC up to the Yukon border. By far the largest population of Kaska however are in Yukon ,namely at LFN and RRDC . KDC is using LFN and RRDC numbers to back up the claim in BC.

Now KDC writes a letter that they want a third of any settlement in the Yukon! And they write it without consulting with the RRDC or LFN.

The only people who are benefiting from the northern BC negotiations are the negotiators who live high off the hog in Vancouver and other places.

captain M wrote:
11:40pm Friday June 16, 2017

Maybe Georgie Morgan should have a talk with Dad Georgie Miller about this very mportant land issue.

So tired of the fighting wrote:
9:52pm Friday June 16, 2017

People need to wake up our chiefs know what’s going on, it’s their responsibility to inform the membership. Sit down with each other talk to each other STOP putting our stuff on social media. I what kind of leaders can’t even talk to one another instead talk through media, we are kaska let’s act like it and face one another not with anger but as a people. What happen in the future effects all of our peoples our elders always say we are one people our nation have to work together

Yukoner wrote:
8:56pm Friday June 16, 2017

Like I Said in the past, the Consultants, (Bottem Feeders and Carpet Baggers) makin deals under the Aupicous of the KASKA, there you go…. what else do you need to see, KASKA has the authority to negotiate??, specially when they are leaving prime members out of the loop… My question is, is an issue that was swept under the rug, after the last Yukon Government, What really happend to the 3.8 Million Capacity Fund the last government gave to such, sounds like the Cow is coming back to the trough for more Easy Money…. When does this crap stop???/

BnR wrote:
7:25pm Friday June 16, 2017

If this is serious, it’s a joke.  If this is a joke, it’s not funny.  At all.

Nile wrote:
1:19pm Friday June 16, 2017

I wonder what cut the lawyers will get?  That sad part is that they have convinced many FN that they deserve this much.

Yukoner wrote:
1:17pm Friday June 16, 2017

Ugh… it just never ends. This is beyond ridiculous and just a cash grab, they basically want half a million per person.

Snowflake wrote:
12:32pm Friday June 16, 2017

Who gave this man George Miller from northern BC the right to represent me? I am Kaska from Yukon, and I never did give him any rights or my consent to make this foolish deal for me. I want answers NOW GEORGE MILLER. I would like to know what else you did behind our backs all these years while you were in office @ THE KASKA DENA COUNCIL IN LOWER POST B.C.

Alan wrote:
12:24pm Friday June 16, 2017

This is not free money. It is taxpayer money deducted from working people’s paycheques every week. Considering that, $1.5 billion is just wildly unreachable.

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