FSIN threatens legal action over province selling Crown land

FSIN threatens legal action over province selling Crown land

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations is considering legal action against the Saskatchewan government in response to Crown land being sold off.

This week, the province is auctioning off 60 parcels of Crown land located across central Saskatchewan.

Current bids for the land range anywhere from $13,000 to $326,000.

The FSIN says its First Nations should have been given the chance to buy the land under Treaty Land Entitlement rules. First Nations are generally given first right of refusal to buy any Crown land that comes up for sale if they have outstanding land claims.

However, FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said that while local First Nations had received letters informing them about the sale, they hadn't been officially offered the land.

"In no way, shape or form is that consultation," Cameron said. "A simple letter to some First Nations is not going to cut it. That's not consultation. That's not respect."

In an emailed response, a government spokesperson said: "There has been no change with any processes with the current Crown land sale, only the method that is being used with the online auction. All notifications to stakeholders, including First Nations, have been consistent."

She added that Crown land is still available for sale under Treaty Land Entitlement.

Cameron said that over the past 20 years, more than one million acres of land had been transferred to First Nations under Treaty Land Entitlement, which has been an important source of economic development.

He's hoping that a political solution can be reached, but if that doesn't happen, he said a lawsuit looks likely.

"It's unfortunate, because the people that are buying these lands, they're going to be caught in a bind," he said. "So, I advise all our levels of government to sit down. Let's not make hasty decisions, and let's honour and respect our treaty rights."

The online auction closes Friday.