Government of Canada invests in major infrastructure development for Salt River First Nation 

News release

September 14, 2020 — Ottawa, Traditional Algonquin Territory, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada

Today, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, announced an investment of $16.8 million in support of Salt River First Nation's community infrastructure project. This funding will allow for the development of infrastructure for future residential use, increasing the number of homes on the Salt River reserve and creating new jobs.

The Salt River First Nation will be extending their existing water system and upgrading the sewer systems from the Town of Fort Smith in order to serve their community as well.  The project will also enable the First Nation to carry out land preparation and electrical and communications work in support of building homes.

This initiative will provide direct and indirect socio-economic benefits to the Salt River First Nation as well as the Northwest Territories as a whole. 


"Congratulations to Chief David Poitras and Salt River First Nation on your collaborative effort to develop this key infrastructure project, and for securing the funding to start its development. Canada recognizes the importance of this community-driven project. Not only will it set the foundation for additional housing on the reserve, but it will also promote economic prosperity and help build a healthier, more sustainable First Nation."

The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services 

"The Salt River First Nation has worked hard to move this project forward and to increase the reserve's residential capacity. This project will have significant short- and long-term socio-economic benefits in the community, the Town of Fort Smith, and the Northwest Territories. This will be a particularly important boost to the economy as we work to build healthier communities and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. I would like to commend the SRFN for their leadership and I look forward to continue working with the community as this significant project progresses."

The Honourable Daniel Vandal
Minister of Northern Affairs  

"I am more than elated by Minister Marc Miller's infrastructure announcement of $16.8 million over two years that will support the implementation of essential water and wastewater, electrical and communication services for a 39-lot residential subdivision on reserve and within the boundaries of Fort Smith! The news is an example of reconciliation between the federal government and my community. I'd also like to extend my thanks to NWT MP Michael McLeod and Dene National Chief Norman Yakeleya for their assistance in securing the funding! Also deserving much credit is our Chief Negotiator, Ken Laviolette, as well as Bruce Cottingham, Henry Beaver Sr., Colleen Verville, Allen Stanzell, and Ernie Daniels from the trilateral team."

Chief David Poitras
Salt River First Nation 

"I extend my congratulations to Chief David Poitras and the Salt River First Nation on their work in securing this funding to allow for the reserve to expand its residential capacity. This project presents a significant opportunity for Salt River First Nation to provide much needed services to its members. I am pleased to have played a role in helping this project move forward successfully."

Michael V. McLeod
Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories 

Quick facts

  • The Salt River First Nation is a signatory to Treaty 8, signed in 1899 by First Nations in the Southwest portion of the Northwest Territories, Northern Alberta, Northern Saskatchewan, and the Queen of England. 

  • The Treaty Settlement Agreement was signed by the Salt River First Nation #195 and the Government of Canada in March 2002. 

  • Salt River First Nation is one of two reserves in the Northwest Territories. It is located outside of the Town of Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories, close to the Alberta border. 

  • On September 5, 2008, through an Order-in-Council, the Government of Canada established the Salt River First Nation Indian Reserve No. 195, and also set apart the first block of selected lands for reserve. 

  • In 1968, a landslide more than 1,000 metres wide and 300 metres deep broke away from the bank of Slave River and hit Salt River reserve, requiring many members to move to Fort Smith. 

  • The new development of housing will enable additional members to return to their community. 

  • The $16.8 million goes toward an infrastructure-enabling project that will take two years to complete and that the First Nation expects to create $22.9 million in output, including close to $6 million in wages and salaries to support 77 jobs in the Northwest Territories. 

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Adrienne Vaupshas
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada

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