New Brunswick First Nations Sign Agreement with One Forestry Company Named in Land Title Claim

On Tuesday (2-28-23), The Canadian Press reported that six Wolastoqey communities in New Brunswick, Canada, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with one of the companies named in a major lawsuit filed by the First Nations in 2020 (updated in November of 2021) seeking to reclaim title over large swaths of the province.

Citing representatives of the six nations, The Canadian Press says the agreement in principle with forestry company AV Group NB outlines a path for a forest co-management model and for other economic development opportunities.

Madawaska Maliseet First Nation Chief Patricia Bernard said, “It is more than just a symbolic gesture. It actually sets the stage for other companies to probably do the same, sit down with the chiefs and come to an understanding, moving forward when it comes to forestry management. And that’s just one aspect of all of this.”

Background from The Canadian Press:

In November 2021, the First Nations filed an updated claim in New Brunswick court targeting corporations that operate on about 20 percent of the more than 50,000 square kilometers in the province the Wolastoqey claim as their traditional lands. In their original claim filed in 2020, the communities sought title to the land, but their new claim also seeks compensation from the Crown for allowing commercial operations on their traditional territory.

Other than AV Group NB, the defendants include J.D. Irving Ltd. and 18 of its subsidiaries or related entities, NB Power, Acadian Timber, as well as the governments of New Brunswick and Canada.

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