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August 24, 2022
Forced to repay debts for more than a decade after the Dene-Métis land claim’s collapse, the Gwich’in Tribal Council can finally put that money to better use.
The Canadian government distributed treaty negotiation loans across Canada in the late 1980s and early 1990s – loans meant to cover legal fees and the cost of studies and reports during negotiations.
In practice, many Indigenous governments felt the loans pressured them into accepting agreements as costs mounted and created a lasting debt burden.
In 2020, Gordon Sebastian – director of BC’s Gitxsan Nation Treaty Society – said Indigenous groups had been “driven to borrow money from the very governments who took our land in the first place.”
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