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Kapyong signing draws crowd and media interest

Assiniboia Downs played host to around 500 people and a mash of media both local and national to witness the Kapyong saga moving forward. 

It was a chilly day April 11 but that didn't stop the warm glow many had inside. For those who might not know, the Kapyong Barracks were abandoned when the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry were moved to another base in 2004. The Stephen Harper's federal government tried to sell the unused land but after years in court agreed to negotiate with Treaty 1 chiefs for the sale of the land. 

In fact, the original case was pursued by Peguis First Nation in court successfully claiming that as signatories to Treaty Land Entitlemet (TLE) that the first opportunity to bid on the land should have gone to Treaty 1 First Nations since Winnipeg is within the Treaty 1 territory. 

TLE was an agreement that the federal government has signed with various First Nations throughout the province to make up for shortfalls in land transferred due to mistakes when the boundaries of the First Nations were first created. 

At the front of the room seated at the main table were the Treaty 1 chiefs, Jim Bear of Brokenhead Ojibway Nation; Glenn Hudson of Peguis First Nation; Craig Alexander from Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation; Derrick Henderson of Sagkeeng First Nation; Lance Roulette of Sandy Bay First Nation; and Francine Meeches from Swan Lake First Nation. 

Joining the Treaty 1 chiefs were National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Winnipeg South Centre MP Jim Carr. 

Sajjan announced that his department was already demolishing empty houses and would clean up the site to make it suitable for development in two phases that will take two years to complete. 

In addition, no formal agreement was signed that day as to the price of the land or developments to take place on the land.  

Although, at this point a final agreement with Treaty 1 First Nations is only a matter of time and not of question if it will ever be signed.

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