For Immediate release
December 10 /2015
Blood Tribe members Vote in Favor of Settlement Agreement.
Blood Tribe voters who cast their vote on December 9, 2015 gave overwhelming support for the Blood Tribe/KainaiWWII Bombing and Gunnery Range Specific Claim Settlement Agreement and Trust Agreement.1809 voters participated in the ratification vote with 1589 voting in favor. The result was a successful ratification in keeping with the simple majority requirement under the Settlement Agreement.
The claim settlement rights a historic wrong suffered by the Blood Tribe 74 years ago when the Government of Canada’s Department of National Defence illegally leased, used and occupied approximately 55,000 acres of Blood Reserve land for a bombing and gunnery range during World War II from the years 1941-1945.
In 2003 the Blood Tribe filed a Specific Claim with Canada’s Specific Claims Branch, at the urging of elders who had lived through the experience. The Tribe alleged that Canada breached its obligations to the Blood Tribe when it illegally used those Blood Reserve lands and as a result, the Blood Tribe suffered loss for which it should be compensated. In 2010 Canada validated the claim by accepting that it has an outstanding lawful obligation because it had failed to comply with the requirements of the Indian Act.
Canada agreed to negotiate a settlement of the claim on the grounds that it had breached its duty and owed the Blood Tribe compensation for the loss of use of the lands for the time period.
Over the last 5 years the necessary work was undertaken to determine and value the losses suffered by the Blood Tribe, as well as negotiating the Settlement Agreement and drafting the Trust Agreement. Agricultural and Oil & Gas experts were engaged to conduct loss of use studies in order to determine the loss the Blood Tribe suffered as a result of not being able to use those lands for the relevant years. Those experts determined the monetary losses suffered by the Blood Tribe in historical dollars. Another expert was engaged to bring the value of those losses forward to today’s dollars. The compensation that is being offered to the Blood Tribe is based on that valuation and is approximately 5.8 million dollars.
An extensive community information process was undertaken and included door to door visits by a team of 8 Community Information Officers, group sessions, 3 community meetings and postings of informational materials on a wide variety of local Blood Tribe media including print, radio, public monitors, email, website and face book.
Chief Charles Weasel Head was pleased with the turnout and the outcome of the ratification vote. He commented: “with the members voting in favor of the settlement and trust agreement, we can now move forward and begin to determine in consultation with Blood Tribe members which capital project or projects the funds will go toward.”
After certain procedural steps are taken, the Settlement Agreement and Trust Agreement will be formally executed by the Blood Tribe Council and the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. A Community Survey will then be undertaken to assist in determining which capital project or projects the funds will be utilized for.
For more information contact:
Blood Tribe Communications