Kawacatoose First Nation has become the first Aboriginal community to opt into the moneys management portion of the First Nations Oil and Gas and Moneys Management Act (FNOGMMA) and take full control over the management of its land and resource moneys.
The provisions of the Act will enable the Kawacatoose First Nation to act more quickly on investment, economic and employment opportunities. By opting into FNOGMMA, the Indian Act requirement of seeking Ministerial approval to expend these monies no longer applies. The community’s financial code will now guide the First Nation’s Council on how their moneys are spent. This will increase the level of accountability of the First Nation’s leadership and put these moneys more quickly into the hands and control of the community.
On March 20, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister Bernard Valcourt joined Chief Darin Poorman in Regina to announce that the Kawacatoose First Nation had opted into the legislation and a signing ceremony was held to commemorate the historic event.
“The Kawacatoose First Nation is looking forward to providing a brighter future for our people, particularly in terms of resource development and undertaking that, in a respectful and environmentally sustainable way,” stated Kawacatoose First Nation Chief Darin Poorman. “Now we can provide more economic opportunities and benefits to our members, as well as jobs in the future to sustain our First Nation in the long term. I’m proud to be a part of this, and I’m certain that what we’re doing today will continue to benefit our members for many years to come.”
Minister Valcourt added, “Our Government knows that the healthiest First Nation communities are also those dedicated to better self-sufficiency. Direct access to these band funds means more economic opportunities for Kawacatoose First Nation, and all First Nations that opt into this legislation. Removing this Indian Act requirement means the First Nation can respond more quickly to community needs and opportunities.”
Kawacatoose First Nation has over 3,000 members, over 1,100 of whom reside on the community’s reserve located 120 kilometres north of Regina. On June 28, 2013, the Kawacatoose First Nation voted in favour of implementing the moneys management component of the FNOGMMA. The community is working with North American Resource Partners (NARP), a private investment firm focused on providing capital for First Nations in North America to develop natural resource projects through assistance with the structuring and financing of projects.
Prior to FNOGMMA, any money earned from mineral rights on First Nations land was held in trust by the federal government. The new legislation allows First Nations to opt out of this practice and to receive funds directly from natural resource development. The funds will be managed within a trust established by the First Nation for this purpose and administered by The Canada Trust Company. This will improve the First Nation’s ability to attract investment and to work with firms such as NARP to strengthen their economy.
John Jurrius, President and CEO of NARP, attended the signing ceremony. He said, “This is an historic day not only for Kawacatoose but for First Nations across Canada. Finally, First Nations will be able to make their own economic development policies based on their own governance systems. The Chief, Council and membership of Kawacatoose should be congratulated for their vision in taking this bold step.”
“This is historic for our First Nation and will create many economic opportunities for our community, created by the community,” noted Chief Poorman. “Partnering with NARP will allow us to fulfill these opportunities knowing that we have the financial resources available to proceed.”
“The expansion of Kawacatoose’s surface and mineral holdings sets the stage for significant economic growth. NARP, as their financial partner, is poised not only to provide capital but to assist Kawacatoose’s leadership in many other ways to take full advantage of those economic opportunities for the benefit of their members,” concluded Jurrius.
For more information about NARP visit www.narpllc.com.