July 15, 2020 — Ottawa, Ontario — Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
The Government of Canada is working in partnership with Indigenous peoples to renew the relationship based on affirmation of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership.
A historic agreement has been concluded for the settlement of the Halifax County 1919 Invalid Surrender Specific Claim with Sipekne’katik and the Millbrook First Nation. The parties agreed upon a compensation amount of $49,204,071 to settle the specific claim.
This specific claim addresses the issue of Canada breaching its duties with respect to the surrender and sale of three reserves of the Halifax County Band, which subsequently divided into what is today Sipekne’katik and the Millbrook First Nation. The reserves, IR#15 at Sambro, IR#16 at Ingram River, and IR#18 at Ship Harbour, were set aside in 1784, 1820, and 1848 respectively. Canada accepted this claim for negotiation in 2008 on the basis that Canada failed to conduct a surrender meeting and surrender vote in accordance with the Indian Act.
Settling this specific claim is a significant step on the journey to reconciliation with Sipekne’katik and the Millbrook First Nation, helping to right past wrongs and create a better future for the members of these communities.
Canada will keep working in partnership on the priorities of Sipekne’katik and the Millbrook First Nation, and advance on the path of reconciliation.
“Today marks another step forward on a path of renewal and reconciliation with Sipekne’katik and the Millbrook First Nation. The settlement is a result of the continued work to right past wrongs, resolve longstanding disputes, and rebuild trust with members of Sipekne’katik and the Millbrook First Nation. This agreement will help support the communities’ ongoing efforts to improve living conditions and expand economic opportunities in their communities.”
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
“We are pleased that our community ratified the 1919 Halifax County Invalid Surrender Claim. This settlement will benefit our membership today and into the future as our planned investments pay dividends.”
Chief of Sipekne’katik
“It has taken 100 years to finally secure what the Halifax County Mi’kmaq were after in 1919 – land in Halifax Regional Municipality. This was a difficult negotiation. Our negotiation team working with the Councils overcame all the obstacles in our path. I am proud to say we have been able to honour the dreams of our ancestors while helping our current and future members to have access to more opportunities – now and into the future.”
Chief of Millbrook First Nation
“Since 2015, we have ensured the relationship with Indigenous communities is paramount on our path to reconciliation. This settlement agreement between the Government of Canada, Sipekne’katik and Millbrook First Nation is another example of that partnership and will help make resources available for new opportunities and prosperity for these communities”
Member of Parliament, Kings-Hants
“I am pleased that this 100-year-old Mi’kmaq land rights claim has finally been settled. A century is a long time for the people of Millbrook First Nation to wait. We recognize the importance of Reconciliation and I look forward to the Government collaborating in partnership on future projects in Mi’kma’ki. It was an honour to advocate for this agreement to be finalized. All My Relations.”
Member of Parliament, Cumberland Colchester
- On November 21, 2019, 52 percent of eligible voters for Sipekne’katik participated in a ratification vote, with 79 percent voting in favour of the settlement agreement. For the Millbrook First Nation, 61 percent of all eligible voters participated in a ratification vote, and 88 percent voted in favour of the settlement agreement.
- The settlement will also provide the option for Sipekne’katik and the Millbrook First Nation to acquire up to 1,265.35 acres of land on a willing-buyer/willing-seller basis and apply to have it added to reserve in accordance with Canada’s Policy on Additions to Reserve/Reserve Creation.
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett,
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
Millbrook First Nation