Tulita is taking its first step towards self-government.
On Tuesday evening the Tulita Yamoria Community Secretariat and the governments of the Northwest Territories and Canada initialled the proposed Tulita Self-Government Agreement in Principle.
“Who would have ever thought in the 1960’s and 70’s that today we’d be talking about Tulita having it’s own government? Not heard of, so our mindsets are getting stronger. It’s possible and anything is possible when we work together on a common goal,” said former negotiator Norman Yakeleya.
“This is an important step in Tulita’s journey towards self-government, building on the Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement,” said Premier Bob McLeod in a press release.
Yakeleya adds it’s another opportunity to improve programs and services at the community level.
“We might take some of the existing services and programs that the existing municipal government has, and it would be Tulita’s own government that would look after them. Even band councils were imposed through the Indian Act to our smaller communities, so these things will be looked at when they start negotiating those chapters,” explained Yakeleya.
While the AIP is not legally binding, government officials say it will address most of the subjects for a self-government agreement.
4-5 years of negotiations are expected for the AIP to be finalized.