They decided to put aside the negotiations on land and resources – where the two sides are very far apart – while trying to break the deadlock that has developed between them, Ottawa and the N.V.T. government. After consulting with First Nations leadership, the Dehcho Process and the elders, GrandChief Gerald Antoine made the following statement on the decision of the D`Acho Dene Koe First Nation of Fort Liard on July 14 to negotiate with the federal and territorial government its own claim: But the discussions on the land, and to whom it belongs , continued to dominate the discussions. It lasted most of the day on Wednesday. Just a month ago, our chiefs, elders and delegates from all municipalities in the Kakisa Lake Assembly approved a broad and clearly defined mandate for the continuation of the Dehcho process, beginning with the adoption and implementation of the land use plan, followed by self-administration, land selection and court proceedings. This is an important and historic milestone. We are now at the real problem: over the years, GNWT bureaucrats have followed the idea that everything Dene governments receive from food is a potential invasion of their lawn. They resisted and pushed their masters in the cabinet, if not in the Assembly, to resist. That`s why, over the years, we`ve witnessed the unfortunate spectacle that powerful Dene leaders have become soft MLAs and ministers who turn away from the GNWT mentality and forget who they represent. The reality is that we are the Northwest Territories. In addition, each territory – the territory of Akaitcho, the Igô territory, the territory of Dehcho, the Sahtu territory, the territory of Gwich`in, the Inuvialuit territory – is the strongest of the Northwest Territories.
The businessmen who have resisted the strengths of these territories (focal claims) also do not understand that northern companies are the providers of all the services necessary, not only to work, but also to develop the raw materials they have if that is what they want. I hope that the leaders and citizens of ADK will be very attentive and informed of this first step and the consequences of what has been signed by dehcho, both for their traditional countries and for the land. As a region, we can negotiate overlaps with other dehcho communities. ADK must understand that approximately 50 per cent of its land is in the territories of British Columbia and the Yukon and that there are different claims and ratification procedures. It follows an anecdotal history of earthly claims in the NWT. I know that there are people who know the facts better than journalists, who are kept out of the meeting rooms and who are equipped with press releases designed to put the best face on all the opposing truths behind them. Everyone is welcome to correct me by the magic of email. I am surprised and concerned that this decision, which seriously undermines the sense of belonging of the entire Dehcho region and the legitimate claim of the peoples in the country, was taken in this way.