It was reported earlier this week that 10 out of 15 First Nations in NB signed an agreement with the federal and provincial governments to negotiate self-government. It was then subsequently reported that all 15 First Nations in NB have signed on. However, after speaking with several First Nations, I understand that only 10 First Nations signed, and only one was Maliseet.
I don’t have an original signed copy, but I have been provided with the text by one of the First Nations. Many people have been emailing me and asking for a copy of the agreement which I have copied below. Please always refer to the original as the official document:
MI’GMAG, WOLASTOQIYIK, NEW BRUNSWICK and CANADA UMBRELLA AGREEMENT
THE MI’GMAG AND WOLASTOQIYIK PEOPLES IN NEW BRUNSWICK, as represented by the Chiefs of the Mi’gmag and Wolastoqiyik First Nations in New Brunswick (“the Mi’gmag and Wolastoqiyik in New Brunswick”)
THE PROVINCE OF NEW BRUNSWICK, as represented by the Minister Responsible for the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat of New Brunswick (“New Brunswick”)
THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA, as represented by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (“Canada”)
Collectively referred to as “the Parties”:
The Mi’gmag and Wolastoqiyik Peoples assert that they have used and occupied their Traditional Lands since time immemorial in accordance with principles of stewardship and responsibility given to them by the Creator; and
The Parties wish to renew and strengthen their government-to-government-togovernment relationship; and
The Parties are dedicated to the principles of good faith, openness, mutual honour and respect; and
The Parties are committed to formal tripartite discussions in order to address outstanding issues among the Parties; and
The Parties recognize that the Mi’gmag and Wolastoqiyik in New Brunswick have not enjoyed the same standard of living as other New Brunswickers; and
The Parties have a shared desire to work in partnership with the shared goal of improving the quality of life outcomes of the Mi’gmag and Wolastoqiyik in New Brunswick; and
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The Mi’gmag and Wolastoqiyik Peoples and the British Crown entered into sacred Treaties. Those Treaties established a relationship based on peace and friendship; and The Parties intend to negotiate and implement agreements on Aboriginal and Treaty rights, including the right to self-government.
THEREFORE THE PARTIES HAVE REACHED THE FOLLOWING UNDERSTANDINGS:
OBJECTIVE OF THE UMBRELLA AGREEMENT
1) This Umbrella Agreement is designed to guide tripartite discussions with the aim of concluding a Framework Agreement on inter-governmental relationships and Aboriginal and Treaty rights and the self-government of the Mi’gmag and Wolastoqiyik in New Brunswick.
2) The Parties have targeted December 31, 2012 as the date by which they wish to have negotiated a Framework Agreement.
3) The Parties shall establish a Coordinating Committee comprised of representatives appointed by each of the Parties to oversee the work undertaken under this Umbrella Agreement. In particular, the Coordinating Committee shall:
a) Identify the subject-matters that are to be addressed under a Framework Agreement, such as, but not limited to:
i. Lands and Resources;
ii. Governance and Jurisdiction;
iii. Economy Development and Sustainability;
v. Education; and
vi. Social and Cultural Development;
b) Negotiate a tripartite agreement on consultation;
c) Identify whether a sub-committee for any agreed to subject-matter should be established;
d) Develop terms of reference and strategic work plans for itself and any proposed sub-committee;
e) Propose interim agreements on issues of concern to the Parties and develop methods for their implementation;
f) Coordinate, monitor and evaluate progress made on the work undertaken under this Umbrella Agreement;
g) Ensure that its representatives report on an ongoing basis, and at least quarterly, to their respective principals on work progress; and
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h) Ensure that annual budgets, work plans and any reporting requirements related to funding agreements are completed and processed in a timely manner.
4) Upon consideration of an annual work plan and the funding resources available, Canada and New Brunswick will cost-share funding under this Umbrella Agreement.
STATUS AND INTERPRETATION OF THE UMBRELLA AGREEMENT
5) Except for sections 5 to 14, this Umbrella Agreement and the work undertaken pursuant to this Umbrella Agreement do not create any legal obligations which are binding on the Parties unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Parties.
6) This Umbrella Agreement and the work undertaken pursuant to this Umbrella Agreement shall:
a) be on a “without prejudice” basis with respect to the legal rights or positions of the Parties, including the Aboriginal and Treaty rights of the Mi’gmag and Wolastoqiyik in New Brunswick;
b) be deemed not to create, define, alter or affect the legal rights or positions of the Parties, including the Aboriginal and Treaty rights of the Mi’gmag and Wolastoqiyik in New Brunswick;
c) not be construed to be, or deemed to be, consultation for the purpose of justification by Canada or New Brunswick for the infringement of any Aboriginal or Treaty rights of the Mi’gmag and Wolastoqiyik in New Brunswick; and
d) not preclude any other discussion or initiative between:
i. the Mi’gmag and Wolastoqiyik in New Brunswick, or individual Mi’gmag and Wolastoqiyik First Nations and New Brunswick, or
ii. the Mi’gmag and Wolastoqiyik in New Brunswick, or individual Mi’gmag and Wolastoqiyik First Nations and Canada on matters of mutual concern.
7) Except for the purpose of enforcing sections 5 to 14 or unless otherwise agreed in writing the Parties undertake not to tender or seek admission of this Umbrella Agreement or the content of meetings, discussions, negotiations, documents generated or positions taken in or during the process contemplated hereunder as evidence in a court of law or before any administrative or regulatory tribunal or board. This undertaking shall survive the termination of this Umbrella Agreement unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Parties.
8) Notwithstanding any other provision of the Umbrella Agreement, any Party may refer to publicly and may lead evidence regarding the Parties, date of operation, existence and purpose of this Umbrella Agreement and the frequency of and participants in meetings held pursuant to its operation before a court, regulatory tribunal, board or similar body.
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9) This Umbrella Agreement shall come into force and effect on the date of its signatures by Canada, New Brunswick, and the First Nations’ Chiefs in New Brunswick provided:
a) A majority of the First Nation Chiefs in New Brunswick execute this Umbrella Agreement; and
b) The Chiefs who execute this Umbrella Agreement are leaders of those First Nations whose members constitute at least fifty per cent plus one person (50% + 1) of the federally registered Indian population in New Brunswick.
10) Any New Brunswick Mi’gmag or Wolastoqiyik First Nation, as represented by its respective Chief, may upon three months written notice to all the Parties, hereto join, withdraw, or rejoin this Umbrella Agreement.
11) If one or more of the Mi’gmag or Wolastoqiyik First Nation(s), as represented by the respective Chief(s), decides to withdraw from this Umbrella Agreement pursuant to section 10, this Umbrella Agreement shall not automatically terminate.
12) If, at any time, the First Nation Parties to this Umbrella Agreement fall below the majority of Chiefs or the majority consists of Chiefs representing less than fifty per cent plus one person (50% + 1) of the federally registered Indian population in New Brunswick, the Parties will consider whether to terminate this Umbrella Agreement.
13) Notwithstanding section 12, Canada or New Brunswick may withdraw or rejoin this Umbrella Agreement upon three months written notice to all the Parties.
14) Notwithstanding sections 10 to 13, the agreements, understandings, undertakings and commitments set out in sections 5 to 9 all continue in effect unless the Parties otherwise agree in writing.
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Signed at _______________, New Brunswick, the _______day of ___________, 2011.
Representing the Mi’gmag and Wolastoqiyik in New Brunswick
I am told that the last two pages are just the signature pages. A special thank you to my friends, family and colleagues in NB First Nation who help keep me informed on what is happening back home. It is hard being so far from home, but you all make it easier.
Hope this helps. Please e-mail if you have any more questions.