“We come together today to right a wrong of the past,” Trudeau said in the traditional lands of the so-called Nao Siksika First Nations in western Canada.
In 1910, the Canadian government seized nearly half of the Native American reservation land in the province of Alberta to use to obtain resources and sell to settlers.
The land grab took place despite the existence of a treaty, signed 30 years earlier, which guaranteed ownership of approximately 46,000 hectares in the western prairie region of the Aboriginal community.
Trudeau said the Canadian government had “acted dishonourably” by taking the “most productive agricultural and mineral-rich land in the community for the benefit of others.”
In turn, Canadian Indigenous Affairs Minister Marc Miller said the Siksika had lost some of the wealth generated by these lands, as well as access to many sacred places.
In this regard, he argued that it was important to recognize “disproportionate land negotiations and transfers”.
“While this agreement is not catching up with the past, we hope it will lead to a better and brighter future for this generation and those to come,” he added.
“This land claim, yes, 1.3 billion, a lot of money. It will never be what it was before. But we have to move on,” the official said.
The community, Miller added, is beginning to see a revival of its culture and traditions, as well as the Blackfoot language, which is now used in local street signage, for example.
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