Canada and Snuneymuxw First Nation advance reconciliation through settlement of historic claim

News Release

October 10, 2017 Nanaimo, BC  Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

The Government of Canada and the Snuneymuxw First Nation have taken a major step on the journey of reconciliation by settling an outstanding specific claim.

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, and Chief John Wesley of Snuneymuxw First Nation celebrated with members of the Snuneymuxw First Nation the settlement of the 79 Acre Reserve specific claim, a historical grievance respecting former reserve land located in the City of Nanaimo that was improperly taken from Snuneymuxw’s reserve land base sometime after 1862.

The settlement agreement provides the First Nation with $49 million in financial compensation that can be used to purchase land or invest in new opportunities for community and business development that will benefit its members and the local economy.

Negotiated settlements like this help to right past wrongs, renew relationships and advance reconciliation in a way that respects the rights of First Nations and all Canadians.


“This settlement agreement demonstrates that we can work together in the spirit of collaboration to address historical grievances and take the steps necessary to renew the relationship and advance reconciliation. Canada is committed to the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership with all Indigenous peoples – and settling this dispute is a further demonstration of that commitment.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs

“Snuneymuxw has worked for many years to achieve this important settlement to resolve the significant loss of a 79-acre reserve in the heart of Nanaimo – a loss that impoverished our Nation in many ways. Snuneymuxw has struggled with the smallest Indian Reserve land base per capita in the country. With this settlement, Snuneymuxw is enabled to take meaningful steps to make a real difference in the lives of our people, the future of our Nation, and it is an important component of reconciliation with Canada.”

Chief John Wesley
Snuneymuxw First Nation

Quick Facts

  • Should the First Nation choose to acquire land, the settlement agreement enables the Snuneymuxw First Nation to request reserve status for 79 acres of land, subject to Canada’s Policy on Additions to Reserve/Reserve Creation.

  • To date, Canada has settled over 400 specific claims through negotiated settlements with First Nations across the country.

Associated Links


Sabrina Williams
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett

INAC Media Relations
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

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