The Pasqua First Nation near Fort Qu’Apelle is getting $145-million in compensation from the federal government.
This is based on a surrender claim over land the First Nation says was unlawfully taken away from it 112 years ago. The government approved the settlement in June 2018 and the First Nation received it Monday.
According to the records of the claim, Treaty 4 which was signed in 1874, said each band was entitled to 640 acres of land per family of five or 128 acres per person.
More than 25 years after the Treaty, Pasqua said 16,077 acres of prime agricultural land was taken away from the band in 1906. According to Pasqua, the First Nation supported itself with farms in 1903.
The settlement comes after a number of unsuccessful attempts to claim from the government, in 1987, 1995, 2006 and 2013.
“Finally we’re feeling closure. Since 1983, I was a young man, I was expecting a resolvement back then, 25 years later we finally get a resolvement,” said Chief Matthew Peigan.
“This settlement for the people of Pasqua First Nation will benefit those people today and into the future. With sound prudent investments, the settlement monies will grow over time to provide an annual amount to Pasqua First Nation for programs and services.”
The money will be used to build an elderly care home, a youth facility, and a high school.
“We’re looking at it from grade 7-12, a modern high school, we’re also looking at incorporating welding, culinary, electric and carpentry into the curriculum,” Peigan explained.
“We want to honour all of the individuals, researchers, chiefs and counsel that have been involved in this process.”
To mark the settlement, Pasqua First Nation hosted a celebration Tuesday at Chief Ben Pasqua Memorial Hall, honouring all the past leadership, elders, researchers and legal counsel who contributed to the settlement of this claim.