Categorized | News

Historic agreement for Blackfoot Confederacy, Alberta

blackfoot agreement

Indigenous Relations Minister Richard Feehan, Piikani Nation Chief Stan Grier, Premier Rachel Notley, Blood Tribe Chief Roy Fox and Siksika Nation Chief Joe Weasel Child.

Blackfoot leaders and the Alberta government have created a new protocol for collaboration.
The Alberta–Blackfoot Confederacy Protocol Agreement was signed Friday during a ceremony at the McDougall Centre in Calgary.
“We live in a time when our relationship with First Nations people is made richer and clearer by monumental documents as the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People,” Indigenous Relations Minister Richard Feehan said. “Our agreement today reflects the spirit of those two documents.”
“It carries with it a true commitment and desire for strengthening our relationships with the leaders and the people of the Blackfoot Confederacy through meaningful and collaborative action.”
Blood Tribe Chief Roy Fox, Piikani Nation Chief Stan Grier and Siksika Nation Chief Joe Weasel Child joined Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Feehan in signing the protocol.
The agreement is a formal process for government and the confederacy to collaborate on economic development; culture and language; social, political and legal issues; environment and lands; reconciliation; and implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.
Blackfoot Confederacy includes the Blood Tribe or Kainai First Nation, Piikani Nation and Siksika Nation.
The three nations have about 25,000 members.
Notley reflected that Treaty 7 was signed Sept. 22, 1877 at Blackfoot Crossing.
“Since then, a lot has changed,” Notley said. “But we are here today because we all know much more must change — much, much more.”
Notley said when the New Democrats formed government it was with the intention of improving relationships with First Nations in a spirit of respect and reconciliation.
“We are working very hard to keep our promise,” Notley said. “We believe indigenous people must be able to enjoy the same opportunity as all Albertans.”
Notley said that includes participating in the economy, preserving language and culture, and the recognition of First Nations rights to the land.
Notley said protocol agreement establishes a firmer base for collaboration between the Alberta government and First Nations.
“The protocol agreement that we have just signed is going to allow us to work together in a closer way and to really help people,” Notley said.
This is the second protocol agreement signed by the Alberta government.
The Alberta–Treaty 8 First Nations Protocol Agreement was signed in April 2016.
Negotiations are under way with Treaty 6 as well as the remaining Treaty 7 nations.
“My hope is that a new era in relations between our respective governments is beginning,” Notley said. “An era where we can work in a closer and more co-ordinated way to help make life better for people.”
The Alberta government is providing a $375,000 grant to the Blackfoot Confederacy to support the agreement’s implementation.
The agreement will remain in place for as long as both parties wish to keep it active.
“We are very willing to work with the Alberta government, very willing to share responsibilities on how we may make things better not just for Albertans in general, but for the Blackfoot,” Blood Tribe Chief Roy Fox said.
Fox told the story that his great great great grandfather Chief Red Crow was late for the signing of Treaty 7.
“There are several stories why that was the case,” Fox said, citing one that is generally accepted that Red Crow was out hunting.
Another story, less well-known, is that Red Crow did not trust the white politicians, based on how treaties signed in the U.S. had been broken.
“I am sure that we are going to work well together,” Fox said. “Let us work toward the greater good of indigenous people in North America. Let us work to the greater good of Albertans.”
Piikani Nation Chief Stan Grier also welcomed the protocol and the move to implement the UN declaration and Truth and Reconcilation calls to action.
“It’s a historic day,” Grier said.
Added Siksika Chief Joe Weasel Child: “I think we have a window of opportunity. The will is there and we will make some change.”

Comments are closed.