Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs
November 30, 2007

Minister Congratulates Federation of Newfoundland Indians on Signing of Agreement In Principle with Government of Canada

The signing of an agreement in principle between the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI) and the Government of Canada is a welcome milestone in what has been a lengthy negotiation for recognition of thousands of Mi�Kmaq in Newfoundland and Labrador. Today, the Honourable Patty Pottle, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, congratulated FNI president Brendan Sheppard, who signed the agreement this afternoon with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl.

"This is a historic day for the Mi�kmaq of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has long been a proud supporter and advocate of this process," said Minister Pottle, on the signing that took place at the Federation of Newfoundland Indians Museum in the community of St. George�s. "As an Aboriginal woman, I understand what this means to the membership of the Federation of Indians who have been waiting several decades for this acknowledgement from the Government of Canada. All of the Aboriginal peoples of Newfoundland and Labrador join the Mi�kmaq in celebrating this accomplishment."

In November 2003, the FNI, along with the Provincial Government and the federal government, announced the beginning of preliminary negotiations. This agreement in principle sets the stage for the negotiation of a final agreement that will see the registration of Mi�Kmaq who are members of the FNI. Under such an agreement it is anticipated FNI members will receive, for the first time, Aboriginal-specific programs for non-insured health benefits, post-secondary education, economic development and core funding will be provided for the FNI.

"Today�s announcement is a positive step forward for the Federation of Newfoundland Indians and its nine band councils based throughout Central and Western Newfoundland," said Minister Pottle. "I wish the federation a fast and productive negotiation towards a final agreement."


Media contact:
John Tompkins
Director of Communications
Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs
709-729-1674, 728-7762

2007 11 30                                                     4:40 p.m.

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