Whitehorse Daily Star

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MOVING CLOSER TO SELF-DETERMINATION – Kwanlin Dün Chief Doris Bill, centre, signed the Community Lands Plan Tuesday morning at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre. On the right is Kwanlin Dün elder Judy Gingell and on the left, former chief Rick O’Brien.

First Nation’s Lands Act called historic event

Chief Doris Bill of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation says its new Lands Act is an historic development that will greatly enhance its path to self-determination.

By Chuck Tobin on October 21, 2020

Chief Doris Bill of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation says its new Lands Act is an historic development that will greatly enhance its path to self-determination.

The act provides the First Nation with the authority to manage, protect and enforce laws on settlement land.

It also provides the authority to make settlement land available for residential housing, commercial lots and industrial lots.

“This act guides how we, as a First Nation, will continue to grow and protect and thrive on the lands of our ancestors,” Bill told people gathered Tuesday morning at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre to celebrate the act.

“As they used it for generations to live and work and raise families, so will we for generations to come.”

Under the act, citizens of Kwanlin Dün – and eventually non-citizens – will be able to purchase leasehold interest on a piece of land on which they can register in the Yukon’s land title office so they borrow money from the bank to build.

It will provide citizens with the ability to pass the lease down to their children or even sell the lease and the home.

Bill explained the first order of business is to deal with more than 350 historical expressions of interest in land from citizens that are already on the books, going as far back as the 1980s.

The chief said it will take more than a year to deal with the backlog, and the First Nation won’t be accepting any new applications for land until it has completed the work.

In the meantime, however, the First Nation will be in discussions with its development corporation regarding the potential for the creation of residential subdivisions on settlement land, as well as making commercial and industrial lots available on settlement land, Bill explained.

The chief noted how there have been many people responsible for the act who have worked tirelessly over the years for Kwanlin Dün’s Indigenous rights.

“It’s for the people who dedicated their lives to negotiating our final and self-government agreements,” she said.

“We can make this announcement here today because of their grit and determination. They had a vision for our settlement lands and they could see what the future could be.

“This act is also for our youth and our future citizens not born yet, so that they will have access and connection to our lands forever.”

Under the land claim settlements in the Yukon, First Nations are prohibited from selling their settlement lands.

Also on hand Tuesday to make comments was former Kwanlin Dün chief Rick O’Brien, who began developing the Lands Act in 2011 during his first term in office.

O’Brien said the work really goes back to the early 1970s, when First Nations began their push for land claim settlements in the Yukon.

Kwanlin Dün elder councillor Judy Gingell, a former grand chief of what was then the Council for Yukon Indians, also spoke about the effort of so many over the years who made yesterday possible.

Kwanlin Dün’s Lands Act came into effect on Oct. 15.

“We also have a land management system that allows us to provide land to build homes, cabins and camps, make land available for traditional use, like hunting and fishing, and protect settlement land for future generations,” said the chief.

A press release issued at Tuesday’s announcement notes the following background:

• Kwanlin Dün owns 264 parcels of settlement land. In total, there are 1,042 square kilometres of settlement land. There are 84 parcels of settlement land within the City of Whitehorse, totalling approximately 24 km2.

• The Lands Act provides Kwanlin Dün with the authority to manage settlement land, including protecting settlement land against unauthorized uses, environmental damage, trespassing, pollution and littering.

• The Lands Act applies to all Kwanlin Dün settlement land. It will not apply to non-settlement land within Kwanlin Dün’s traditional territory. It applies to anyone using Kwanlin Dün settlement land.

• In 2017, Kwanlin Dün created a Land Vision with direction from Kwanlin Dün beneficiaries and citizens. The vision guides how Kwanlin Dün manages and uses settlement land, setting out four main goals: community development, wildlife, heritage and revenue generation.

• Council directed that Kwanlin Dün’s Traditional Territory Land Vision guided the development of the act.

• In 2018, Kwanlin Dün made history by registering a parcel of settlement land in the Yukon Land Titles Office, receiving the first Certificate of Title for Category A Settlement Land in the Yukon. This makes it possible for individuals or businesses to purchase a leasehold interest on settlement land and register it in the Yukon Land Titles Office.

Comments (34)

Up 1 Down 1

Resident on Oct 27, 2020 at 10:10 pm

@Cake and Eat it Too
Because KDFN still pays property tax and property tax covers garbage, water+sewer and roads. KDFN is one of the City's largest taxpayers.

Up 1 Down 0

Nathan Living on Oct 27, 2020 at 8:58 pm

So Kwanlin Dun involved a number of first nations amalgamating with the direction or guidance of Indian Affairs.
Southern Yukon First Nation settlement is well documented in archeology work so what is the issue with an amalgamation and land claims and a KDFN Lands Act.

What is wrong with people these days?

Up 1 Down 1

Chuck Farley on Oct 27, 2020 at 6:02 pm

cake and eat it to;
news flash sparky, KDFN along with other FN have a municipal agreement where services are delivered for a fee just like you and me, nice try.

Up 10 Down 7

Cake and Eat it Too on Oct 27, 2020 at 5:03 pm

If all income taxes that are generated on their property go to KDFN, why then are they not responsible to plow their own roads, deal with their own garbage, arrange for their own water, etc?
Why do CoW tax dollars pay for these things and KDFN tax dollars don't? Such a double standard. Will it ever end? Is this self-government?

Up 4 Down 3

Atom on Oct 27, 2020 at 2:44 pm

Yes. Because you can't build a house under financing (or without) unless it can be permitted by Building Safety.....so a development permit is required within City Boundaries....because if you can get a leasehold agreement it means you need to follow the rules...which under any leasehold are built in to mirror the Torrens system...which is kinda important to banks and leaseholders.
It's not that episode of Sesame Street...fear not, leases are title too.

Up 13 Down 6

BnR on Oct 27, 2020 at 8:59 am

With respect to KDFN settlement lands within the City of Whitehorse:
-will any development of those lands be required to follow the City's Official - Community Plan?
-will KDFN be required to follow zoning requirements?

Up 30 Down 9

Yoduh on Oct 25, 2020 at 8:09 pm

@Nathan Living.
I know when the railroad was built, I also know the band was created when land claims and the Umbrella Final Agreement were negotiated, in the 1970’s.
I would like to agree with your opinion, but I don’t think I can shove my head that far up my A__!

Up 25 Down 6

Groucho d'North on Oct 25, 2020 at 2:21 pm

@ Nathan Living
Yoduh's right, you're wrong. KD is a historically recent creation.
There's this cool new tool for finding & learning things called Google. Give it a try and you'll find things like this: https://www.kwanlindun.com/about-the-kwanlin-dun/

Here's an excerpt: "In 1956, the Department of Indian Affairs unilaterally decided there were too many Indian bands in the Yukon Territory and, for administrative purposes, joined six bands into three. This brought about the amalgamation of the Indigenous people between Marsh Lake and Lake Laberge who, for various reasons, had migrated into the larger Whitehorse area. Thus, the Department of Indian Affairs created the Whitehorse Indian Band, known today as the Kwanlin Dün First Nation."

Up 19 Down 33

Nathan Living on Oct 24, 2020 at 9:52 pm

@Yoduh on Oct 23, 2020 at 1:28 pm

"Kwanlin Dun now has 24 km2 in the city of Whitehorse.
Not bad for a band that didn't exist until the 1970's. First Nations never settled in Whitehorse until the railroad was built."

Seriously Yoduh , if First Nations settled in Whitehorse after the railway was built it was not in 1970 but closer to 1900. There are likely records that prove a historic governance structure and FN occupation here that is thousands of years old.
I am as usual disappointed by what appear to be so many dismissive comments about aboriginal people.

Some day there may be more enlightenment.

Up 15 Down 10

makes you wonder on Oct 24, 2020 at 5:43 pm

My guess is that the first developments are going to be for expensive country res lots, so the 95% income tax they receive instead of it going to the federal and territorial governments, will be significant. I really doubt the KDFN is going to focus on providing housing to lower income people, and they won't even want anyone leasing their lots if they are not paying income tax. We'll see how this plays out.

It's hard to comprehend the staggering stupidity of an agreement negotiated on our behalf which gives almost 100% of a Canadian's income tax each year to a landlord, on top of what they are paying in rent. For what?

I am glad that their own people will have quasi ownership of their own homes though. Doesn't make much sense to invest in something you don't own.

PS - some of the failures in long term leases from Bands across Canada are based in the ridiculously low amount of rent that was being paid. I saw this play out in Ontario in the Sauble Beach area, etc. People were basically squatting there for all the rent that was being collected. Then the band wanted them gone, and jacked up the rents or wouldn't renew. Oh well! Can't say as I blame the band.

Up 13 Down 25

Nathan Living on Oct 24, 2020 at 1:44 pm

This is historic, good luck with your land management.
You should work closely with the city and not let them put incomparable trails or development next to your land.

Up 13 Down 5

Groucho d'North on Oct 24, 2020 at 10:38 am

Who paid what to whom? How much and for what?
All this chatter about political funding and still we do not get the best government money can buy.

Up 12 Down 9

Groucho d'North on Oct 24, 2020 at 10:34 am

There will never be progress unless we stop dredging up all the ways something failed in the past and wallow in that failure. I am hopeful that the architects of this Act considered what did not work in the past and have taken steps to ensure it does not happen with this new law. But words on paper do not express a level of trustworthiness, that can only be demonstrated by deeds over time and honoring the agreements made.
I am hopeful that leasing FN lands proves to be a benefit to help with the Yukon's housing crunch and a new standard can be created. It's up to all involved parties to make it work.

Up 20 Down 7

NickyB on Oct 23, 2020 at 9:24 pm

Why isn't the FN developing trailer parks on settlement lands just outside of city limits? That could make housing affordable for a lot of people.

Up 10 Down 28

Unfeckingbelievable! on Oct 23, 2020 at 6:47 pm

It’s really sad to read the comments with all the down votes and observe the inverse relationship between their message and the thumbs down... Over and over again...

It has to make you wonder if they like to be disliked... Over and over again... I feel sad for them.

Up 35 Down 2

Jim on Oct 23, 2020 at 4:56 pm

@woodcutter, I don’t think anyone, con or liberal, deny that First Nations should be available to sell or lease their land. But to think that they deserve an individual’s tax remittance is crazy. When we pay our income taxes to the feds and YTG it comes with some expectations. Hospitals, healthcare, tourism, infrastructure such as roads, bridges, power grid. Maybe you know more and could enlighten everyone on what exactly each band that receives your tax dollars will do for the general public.

Up 59 Down 9

Yoduh on Oct 23, 2020 at 1:28 pm

Kwanlin Dun now has 24 km2 in the city of Whitehorse.

Not bad for a band that didn't exist until the 1970's. First Nations never settled in Whitehorse until the railroad was built.
Kwanlin Dun is made up of first nations from all over northwestern Canada.
Telegraph Creek, Lower Post, Atlin, Ross River, Pelly Carmacks, Dawson City. To name a few, who settled here for work, or to go to school.
Traditional land, I don't think so. Negotiated land based on who was here in the 1970's maybe.
I could be wrong, but I would like to be told where their early settlement is located, dwellings, totem poles, dug out cedar canoes, etc.
It's nice to see they have secured land on which to secure their future, but a little clarity on the history of their band should be established.

Up 14 Down 28

Patti Eyre on Oct 23, 2020 at 11:29 am

And Thomas Brewer is right, basically just because what some other people have done in the past it is right to put their deeds on other people and play the blame game!

Also TMYK and Bingo are right, basically tell anyone renting, why rent when you can go out and buy land and build your own house, northland and takhini residents listen to TMYK and Bingo! Perhaps they will run in the next election and we can all vote for their bold ideas!

Final comment that Unfeck is totally right, none of us think for ourselves anymore! Except for Unfeck who is brave enough to use a fake name to point this all out for us!

But seriously good for you KDFN, keep going.

Up 31 Down 8

My Opinion on Oct 22, 2020 at 8:10 pm

That is the whole problem, there is no land to develop. It was all given away in Land Claims. We were not privy to what was being negotiated, they were though.

KDFN has 26 sq km in the City of Whitehorse, then there are TAAN lands and CTFN lands add to that Park lands and nothing is left.
The City is scrambling to try and get something but this is definitely not it.

This is totally different then Band land down south. This is Final agreement lands. They have the right to write laws, the right of taxation, also 95% of the income tax of non FN individuals or Corporations living or doing business on their land.

Why would they ever sell that Licence to print money.
Wake up people.

Up 17 Down 30

Spud on Oct 22, 2020 at 5:58 pm

I would bet a bundle that not one of you have actually read the Act. Course that would take some time, patience, understanding, open mindedness, less hate for anything First Nation. Not holding my breath!!

Up 17 Down 34

Woodcutter on Oct 22, 2020 at 1:11 pm

Totally predictable from the tight wing nutz. On one hand they cry and demand that the FN with all their land should be self sufficient and forego government hand outs, then from the other side of their mouth, their fork tongues cry when they finally learn after 25 plus years of land claims and self government that residents on settlement land, who pay income tax, has that tax then forwarded to the first nation...duh.

It would appear that all these smart conservatives have never looked at the income tax forms. Whod of thunk of such a sinister plot to do this, to let the FN utilize their own land to become self sufficient?

Up 18 Down 36

The real Spud on Oct 22, 2020 at 12:33 pm

Ha ha, it is pretty low to use someone else's identity to contradict what it is they comment on. The low lifes that exist on this site never surprise me.

Up 45 Down 14

Spud on Oct 22, 2020 at 11:35 am

Just look around, do your research. I know of many who have built on land leased from first nations in BC, Sask., Alta.,Manitoba & Ont who are extremely sorry.

Up 47 Down 12

JC on Oct 22, 2020 at 11:24 am

I saw the same thing happen in Ontario and it wasn't pretty.

Up 49 Down 12

no thank you on Oct 22, 2020 at 10:51 am

Unless I could buy the parcel and have the land title assigned to me, like in any other land purchase I would never invest in that. Look at what has happened with other FN lands, which were 99 year leases. Good luck in your ventures. Buyer (leasee) beware.

Up 40 Down 11

Jim on Oct 22, 2020 at 9:21 am

Maybe this is the whole reason that YTG and City has made such an effort to lag behind on lot development. Keeps the prices over inflated and options limited. There should be no need to lease land in a sparsely populated territory such as ours. Also one has to wonder the reason for making income tax deductions transferred to the First Nations band that the lease is with. Would it not be more beneficial to all parties to sell these lots?

Up 48 Down 10

My Opinion on Oct 22, 2020 at 12:54 am

Be Aware!
Not only do the First Nations have the right of Property Taxation on these lands, they also, through Land Claim agreements will receive your income tax in a transfer from the federal government.

Also read how they will be able to enforce laws on their lands. Stranger then fiction. read below.

Up 53 Down 13

Unfeckingbelievable! on Oct 21, 2020 at 8:44 pm

Who wants to live with the uncertainty:

Musqueam reserve residents win court challenge over proposed 800% rent increase.
In 2015, the Musqueam Band issued a notice to increase leaseholder rents by an average of $80,000
CBC News
Posted: May 25, 2017

Not smart at all...

Up 30 Down 14

Spud on Oct 21, 2020 at 8:42 pm

Something tells me that KD wouldn't want you as guests anyway.

Up 29 Down 36

Cheryl on Oct 21, 2020 at 7:37 pm

Congratulations to KDFN. If anyone wants to see how successful it can be has only to look at the Okanagan -- from Westbank to Osooyoos -- to see how the FNs there have put their land to work for the benefit of their citizens.

Up 40 Down 24

Unfeckingbelievable! on Oct 21, 2020 at 5:57 pm

At TMYK - People in their Right mind would not... However, those using a Left mind would... Those Liberal loafers of Leftism succumbing to a Left brain mentality are trying hard to take away everyone’s ability to ownership of not just property but even, their own thoughts.

Up 43 Down 10

Bingo on Oct 21, 2020 at 5:21 pm

Why can’t the FN sell theirs lots so people can have title. This would create some healthy competition in the land gauging market. If it’s a land claims issue then get it figured out cause nobody is going to invest half a million dollars and no title.

Up 84 Down 22

TMYK on Oct 21, 2020 at 3:20 pm

Who in their right mind would get a loan to build on land they don't own?

Up 85 Down 24

Thomas Brewer on Oct 21, 2020 at 3:19 pm

Anyone that builds on land they don't have title to is a fool... just look around at other First Nation's that have done this and how poorly it can end up for those that get involved. Leasee beware!

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