The Treaty Land Entitlement Trust
The Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE) Trust is the result of two negotiated agreements, Asimakaniseekan Askiy in 1988 and the Treaty Land Entitlement Agreement in 1992.
As a result of the TLE Trust, Muskeg Lake Cree Nation has been able to increase its holdings and use lands acquired through the Trust to improve economic development within the community through agricultural and urban business opportunities.
The core reserve was established in 1881. According to government records that calculate land entitlements according to the number of band members, the maximum entitlement for Muskeg Lake was for 34,000 acres, with an additional 2,800 acres allotted to fulfill a shortfall stemming from an error in the first survey in 1881, which didn’t include people who were away on the day of the count.
The first agreement, Asimakaniseekan Askiy, was signed Oct. 1, 1988. This resulted in 36 acres of urban reserve in Saskatoon, SK, now known as the McKnight Commercial Centre, named after Treaty Commissioner Bill McKnight. In 1992, a second agreement, the Treaty Land Entitlement Agreement—a double-bilateral agreement between the Federal and Saskatchewan governments and the Federal Government and First Nations—was negotiated and signed by 27 First Nations bands.
This level of dialogue was made possible by former Saskatoon Mayor Cliff Wright (and first Treaty Commissioner of Saskatchewan) and based on a &ldquldquo;willing-buyer, willing-seller” policy. Mayor Wright’s mandate was to help solve the treaty land entitlement question.
The benefits are threefold:
- Addressing land entitlement generated a need for the community to look outward to surrounding governments, mostly municipal, for solutions.
- Establishing the Trust led us to a process of community consultation that had never before happened with other First Nations and non-First Nations stakeholders.
- The prospect of self-managing trust assets brought a sense of hope for the community’s future through a stronger economy.
The Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE) Trust came into being through the work of Harry Lafond (then Chief of Muskeg Lake Cree Nation), Lester Lafond (TLE Coordinator), Lorne Larson (McKercher & McKercher) and Dal McCloy (PM Associates). The first land purchases were made in the 1980s.