In 1941 approximately 55,000 acres of Blood Indian Reserve land was illegally leased, used and occupied by the Government of Canada’s Department of National Defence during World War II for the purposes of a bombing and gunnery range.
The Blood Tribe filed a Specific Claim with Specific Claims Canada in 2003 alleging that the federal Crown breached its statutory, fiduciary and treaty obligations to the Blood Tribe in respect to the taking and using of those lands for the range and claimed damages for losses suffered as a result.
The Minister of Indian Affairs accepted this claim for negotiation in 2010 on the basis that there is an outstanding lawful obligation on the part of the Government of Canada. Negotiations began in 2010 and were concluded in 2015. A proposed Settlement Agreement and Trust Agreement were ratified by the Blood Tribe electorate on December 9, 2015.
To determine the Compensation that should be paid by Canada to the Blood Tribe for its loss of use of the lands from 1941-1945, a loss of use studies needed to be completed. Experts in agriculture and oil and gas were engaged to assess the losses suffered by the Blood Tribe as a result of Canada using those lands from 1941-1945. Once the loss of use reports were accepted by the Parties, another independent expert was retained to calculate the monetary losses in current day dollars.
Canada’s settlement offer is $6,320,007.00. From this amount, negotiation loan funding of $450,000.00 will be deducted as those dollars were provided by Canada to the Tribe to cover costs of negotiations from 2010-2015. Negotiation costs included the loss of use studies, legal counsel and negotiations. After deducting these costs the balance of $5,869,573.00 represented the full and final settlement.
Blood Tribe Chief and Council decided that the Compensation of $5,869,573.00 will be placed into a separate trust fund which will be governed by a Trust Agreement. The Compensation will be used toward the construction of one or more public buildings (capital projects) for the community. Upon the successful ratification of the Settlement and Trust Agreement, Chief and Council directed Canada to deposit the Compensation into a trust account. Once the compensation is in the trust account, it becomes Trust Property and is governed by the strict terms and conditions of the Trust Agreement and can only be used for the construction of one or more Community Capital Projects.