Incremental Treaty Agreements reached between Government of Canada and Innu Nation of Labrador
From: Fisheries and Oceans Canada
August 12, 2021
Ottawa, Ontario – The Government of Canada is committed to a renewed relationship with Indigenous Peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. Building on this commitment, Etienne Rich, Grand Chief of the Innu Nation of Labrador, and the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, as well as the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, and the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, announced today that the Government of Canada and the Innu Nation of Labrador have signed two Incremental Treaty Agreements.
These particular Agreements with the Innu Nation are the first of their kind in Canada and will advance the implementation of treaty-related rights and benefits, as a way to build Innu capacity and self-determination.
The Agreement with Fisheries and Oceans Canada will increase the Innu Nation’s ability to participate in commercial fisheries – enhancing economic wellbeing and helping close the socioeconomic gap between Innu Nation and non-Indigenous Canadians.
The Agreement between the Innu Nation and Parks Canada will increase opportunities for Innu businesses related to Akami-Uapishkᵁ-KakKasuak-Mealy Mountains National Park Reserve, as well as support the Innu to play a central role in the cooperative management and operation of the National Park Reserve, including shared stewardship of its natural and cultural heritage.
These agreements also build on a nation-to-nation relationship, and seek to both maintain and improve the long-term health of ecosystems, as well as the foundation of Innu culture and way of life on Nutshimit (the land), through collaborative conservation, protection and resource stewardship of local fisheries and the National Park Reserve.
“On behalf of Innu Nation, I am very pleased that we have made progress on our ongoing Treaty negotiations. These Incremental Treaty Agreements are positive and signify important contributions to reconciliation by enabling Innu to assume our rightful place as a full participant in the commercial fishery and by supporting the central role of Innu in the planning, management and operation of Akami-Uapishkᵁ-KakKasuak-Mealy Mountains National Park Reserve.”
Grand Chief Etienne Rich, Innu Nation of Labrador
“Coastal Indigenous peoples were the first stewards of the oceans, and they should be full participants in the Blue Economy of today. With this agreement, Canada and the Innu Nation take an important step forward together—one that will enable their community members to support their families through commercial fishing. Our nations will continue to share knowledge and research to achieve our common goal of a sustainable, productive fishery.”
The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
“The Government of Canada recognizes that the Akami-Uapishkᵁ-KakKasuak-Mealy Mountains National Park Reserve is an integral part of Nitassinan, the Innu homeland, and forms a vital cultural, historic and natural part of the heritage of the Innu. This Agreement furthers our mutual goals of protecting the stunning beauty of the national park reserve as well as the Innu’s cultural ties to the land and water and showcasing these to visitors from Canada and around the world.”
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
“Supporting the Innu Nation of Labrador in working to fulfill their vision of self-determination is part of our shared path of reconciliation. The Incremental Treaty Agreements signed today are major achievements that demonstrate our commitment to advancing reconciliation through respectful, constructive dialogue.”
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
- There are approximately 3,000 Innu individuals who are members of the two reserve communities of Sheshatshiu and Natuashish, in Labrador. They claim Aboriginal rights and title throughout a large area of Labrador.
- An Incremental Treaty Agreement is a legally binding pre-treaty agreement intended to address section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 Aboriginal rights by implementing certain treaty elements.
- The Agreement with Fisheries and Oceans Canada includes three components: support for commercial fisheries access, establishing a collaborative fisheries management regime, and ongoing financial resources to implement the Agreement and support managing Innu fisheries in Labrador.
- The Innu Nation holds three multi-species inshore enterprises and one midshore enterprise with allocations of groundfish and shrimp. Currently, the primary fishery focus for the Innu Nation is Greenland halibut.
- Akami-Uapishkᵁ-KakKasuak-Mealy Mountains National Park Reserve is a landscape of mountain tundra, marine coasts, boreal forests, islands and rivers and is home to numerous boreal species. The Innu hold this region as a sacred and important place, where the spiritual, ecological, and practical foundations of the Innu way of life were borne, nurtured, and upheld. The Agreement with the Innu Nation and Parks Canada will protect Innu homeland, and support the continued protection of the cultural, historic and natural part of the heritage of Innu.
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Parks Canada Agency
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada