The federal government and representatives of Akwesasne signed off on an historic land claim agreement Wedesneday - which will see the First Nation pocket some serious cash.
John Duncan, Canada's minister of aboriginal affairs, was on Cornwall Island at the community centre to commemorate the agreement with Mohawk Council of Akwesasne officials on a land claim that stretches back to the 1820s.
The settlement both sides agreed to a deal that totals $5 million.
"This historic agreement shows that negotiations deliver results when there is a firm resolve on both sides to find a solution," said Duncan. "We look forward to building on our strong relationship with Akwesasne as we continue to work together on shared priorities, such as economic development and creating the conditions for healthier, more self-sufficient First Nation communities."
The claim related to lands leased on Cornwall Island between 1820 and 1934. As all the leased lands currently are part of the Akwesasne reserve, the focus of the negotiations was on financial compensation only.
"We are pleased that a past wrong to our people has now been corrected," said Akwesasne Grand Chief Mike Mitchell. "Throughout the negotiations, it was important that we worked together to resolve this claim fairly, expeditiously and in the context of respect and good will that now serves as a foundation for our future relationship. We look forward to working together in resolving larger land claims that involve Akwesasne."
In February, Canada and Akwesasne concluded negotiations on a proposed settlement to resolve the claim. Akwesasne voted to approve the proposed settlement on May 26 and about 95 per cent voted in favour.
The Government of Canada approved the proposed settlement in September 2012.
Canada and the MCA have also made progress in their joint work in other areas. This includes renewing an important Political Protocol on May 31, and achieving a key milestone in their ongoing self-government negotiations. The Political Protocol sets out how the parties will continue to work together in partnership on key issues for the benefit of the community.
Negotiators for Canada and MCA also concluded talks on two draft Agreements-in Principle (AIPs) - on governance and the management of reserve land. These draft AIPs are significant steps toward final self-government agreements that would give the MCA greater control over the decisions that affect its community in these key areas.
Since 2007, Canada has settled over 80 specific claims representing more than $1 billion through negotiated agreements.