Madawaska Maliseet First Nation and Canada reach historic land claim settlement agreement

From: Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Honouring Canada’s legal obligations to First Nations and working collaboratively to renew relationships are key to righting historical wrongs to advance reconciliation with First Nations in Canada.

Chief Patricia Bernard of the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation and the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, announced a major step forward on the path of reconciliation and renewal. The Madawaska Maliseet First Nation and the Government of Canada have concluded a negotiated settlement that resolves the First Nation’s Alienation of Reserve Lands Specific Claim. Canada has provided the First Nation with $145 million in total compensation.

The specific claim concerns the illegal transfer of lands that were originally reserved for the First Nation in 1787, approximately 1,935 acres of land located in northwestern New Brunswick. The settlement also provides the option for the First Nation to acquire up to the same amount of land and apply to have that land added to reserve in accordance with Canada’s Additions to Reserve and Reserve Creation Policy.

Achieved through dialogue and cooperation, this historic settlement agreement will help address the wrongs of the past. The Government of Canada will continue to advance reconciliation with the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation and working in partnership on their priorities.


“Our sincere congratulations to Chief Bernard and the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation on the successful conclusion of this historic settlement. Achieved through the unwavering dedication, determination and hard work of Chief Bernard and the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation, this settlement will stand as a major step forward on the path of renewal and reconciliation between our two nations.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.

Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

“Every member of our band will be helped by this settlement, leading to great economic opportunity – not only on an individual scale for each of our members, but also for the First Nation’s community as a whole and the Madawaska region. This is a new beginning for us, and it provides major economic stimulus to New Brunswick’s economy in these difficult and uncertain times.”

Chief Patricia Bernard, Madawaska Maliseet First Nation

Quick facts

  • This land claim settlement with the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation represents the largest federal land claim settlement in the Maritimes.

  • The First Nation filed this claim with the Specific Claims Tribunal and, in November 2017, the Tribunal found this claim to be valid. Subsequently, the First Nation and Canada agreed to seek a negotiated solution on the issue of compensation.

  • From April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, 36 claims were resolved for over $1.7 billion in compensation.

  • From April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, 51 claims were accepted for negotiation, including 4 claims currently filed with the Specific Claims Tribunal.

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