LETHBRIDGE -- In an effort to renew the relationship between the Federal Government and the Blood Tribe and to work towards reconciliation, an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) has been jointly signed by Blood Tribe Chief Roy Fox, and Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett.
The MoU was developed by both over the last year-and-a-half by representatives of both the Blood Tribe Council and members of Bennett's team, and will provide the basis for future economic, social and environmental negotiation.
Chief Roy Fox says the Blood Tribe entered into the Blackfoot Treaty, also known as Treaty #7, in 1877. Fox says they look at the MoU now with the intention of developing true reconciliation in the spirit and with the original intent of "Innaihtsiiyissini," a sacred covenant made between two parties so they will cease hostilities to one another and work together.
"They will understand and begin to appreciate each other better...We want to ensure that in this new renewal of our government to government relationship, that we do not lose sight of that perspective. That perspective was made between two nations. Unfortunately it has not worked out towards that end as the years have gone by."
He says they welcome the opportunity and it's one of the few instances where the Federal Government and a First Nation can truly begin to understand and appreciate each other and therefore enter into a true collaboration.
Bennett says the agreement is priceless and it's about coming to the table and discussing things that are a priority, and in the order that they should be prioritized.
"I think if you think of the old way of doing things, which was pretty well claiming rights, proving rights, then having to go to court to prove those rights, we now have opened up a table where we can discuss the things that are a priority to the community."
Fox adds that they're looking forward to the "business of doing business" with the Federal Government.
Bennett says they are now in the process of reconciliation with more than 60 First Nations, however this is the first comprehensive one that they hope will move the band towards self-determination.
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