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B.C. native band finalizes treaty agreement

The Yale First Nation north of Hope, B.C., has finalized a treaty agreement with the federal and provincial governments - 16 years after starting the process.

As part of the agreement, the 155-member band will get almost 2,000 hectares of settlement lands that include 217 hectares of former reserves and over 1,700 hectares of Crown lands.

About 21 hectares of provincial Crown land that is currently designated as Agricultural Land Reserve will also be transferred to the First Nation whose self-government status will give them the power to make decisions about matters such as health care, education and child welfare.

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The agreement also gives the aboriginal group $10.7 million and economic development funding of $2.2 million as well as mineral rights, forestry and domestic fish resources and gathering and harvest rights.

Federal Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl says the agreement shows that the B.C. treaty process is producing results and that the First Nation will now have the tools and authority to take control of its economic future.

However, only one other treaty, by the Tsawwassen First Nation of suburban Vancouver, has been finalized under the modern treaty process.

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