Sask. First Nation to get roughly $127M for land lost more than a century ago

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Mosquito Grizzly Bear's Head Lean Man First Nation is set to get roughly $127 million for land it lost to the federal government more than a century ago.

In a Monday tribunal decision, Justice Harry Slade awarded the First Nation the money for about 5,800 hectares the First Nation lost in 1905.

Chief Tanya Aguilar-Antiman declined to comment, but in a prepared statement said the First Nation is "deliberating possible options for (its) best interest" after the decision. The First Nation is located near the Battlefords.

The decision comes more than two decades after the First Nation filed a land claim against the federal government in 1995.

In 2014, the First Nation alleged it lost the land illegally, which the federal government denied. However, in 2017, the federal government acknowledged taking the land was invalid.

The reason is the federal government took a surrender vote — despite a requirement that only members of the First Nation participate — but still "accepted and acted on the surrender," Slade wrote. He added that the loss of land accounted for roughly two thirds of the reserve.

He went on to say "the breach led directly to the permanent alienation of Treaty reserve land" from the First Nation.

The decision arrived at almost $127 million by adding together the land's loss of use value of $111,433,972, and its market value of about $15.5 million.

Nick Pearce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The StarPhoenix