Deninu Kue First Nation takes fight for benefits to new Indigenous Affairs minister (CBC News North – January 19, 2016)

Wants compensation for not having IBAs with first 3 diamond mines unlike other Akaitcho First Nations

The Deninu Kue First Nation hopes the new federal government will do more to help get it benefits from the Northwest Territories’ diamond mines.

The First Nation is based in Fort Resolution on Akaitcho Territory. Unlike the two other Akaitcho First Nations — the Yellowknives Dene and Lutselk’e — Deninu Kue was excluded from impact benefit agreements (IBAs) with the owners of the Ekati, Diavik and Snap Lake diamond mines because its settlement is on the south side of Great Slave Lake.

“What they’re saying is we’re on the south shore of the lake and all the mining’s on the north shore, but … we’re still negotiating for lands, so we should be part of all IBAs that were given to the other [Akaitcho] First Nations,” said Deninu Kue Chief Louis Balsillie.

“We are part of Akaitcho.”

The DKFN sent letters in 2014 and 2015 to the previous Aboriginal Affairs minister Bernard Valcourt asking to discuss the matter, but Balsillie says it never got a response.

Now he’s hoping the new minister, Carolyn Bennett, will accept the invitation to meet with the band.

Balsillie says the First Nation is looking for compensation for losing out on the jobs and business opportunities IBAs bring. He wouldn’t specify an amount.

The Deninu Kue First Nation signed an IBA with the Gahcho Kue diamond mine in 2014 after proving its traditional activities extend to that region. It also has IBAs with the Avalon Nechalacho project and Tamerlane’s Pine Point project.

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