Although Treaty 8 was signed more than one hundred years ago, that doesn't necessarily mean its an archaic piece of Canadian political history.
As of this week, the Clearwater River Dene Nation will receive compensation from the federal government for unfulfilled terms listed out in the treaty, namely a "cows and plows" segment that, per the document, permits those who wish to farm to receive oxen and hand tools.
“That particular agreement was never adhered to,” said Chief Teddy Clark.
Clearwater River Dene Nation was awarded $122.3 million to more than 2,600 band members June 1. Each member received a payment of $44,000.
Children under the age of 18 will have their settlements placed in trust until they reach adulthood. About half of all members are under the age of 18.
“It feels good to see our people prosper in that area and this will be remembered for a long time,” said Clark. “We negotiated very, very carefully. This is a settlement that’s been long awaited,” said Clark.
Clark said they are also looking into other terms of Treaty 8, such as the "ammunition and twine" component to see if the Nation is eligible to pursue further claims.
Earlier this year, Treaty 8 also made the news once more when its area was disputed. The exact location of its western boundary has been disputed since 1909. What is meant by the “central range of the Rocky Mountains” in Treaty 8 was indefinite until this year, in which the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed the BC Court of Appeal's ruling last year that the boundary is set along the Arctic-Pacific Divide and not the more easterly boundary of the height of the Rocky Mountains asserted by British Columbia.