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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones

THE EXTENSION OF MATIMEKOSH WILL STRENGTHEN THE COMMUNITY AND CONTRIBUTE TO ITS SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Translation

QUÉBEC, January 12, 1999 -- The Council of the Montagnais of Schefferville, the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec have finalized plans to extend the Matimekosh Aboriginal reserve, located on the outskirts of Schefferville.

This achievement is the first of its kind, in that it recovers infrastructure belonging to the Town of Schefferville, whose territory was restructured by the Quebec government following closure of the I.O.C. mine.

"This project constitutes a step in the right direction for my community," said Jacques Gauthier, Chief of the Matimekosh Montagnais. "It provides an opportunity to meet our community development needs in the short and medium term." With respect to his community's top priorities, Chief Gauthier added, "In the meantime, it is important that we never lose sight of the fact that we want to restore the nation-to-nation relationship we used to have, in honour and dignity. This is the way that we want to live together on our land."

A 1989, demographic study covering a projected period of 25 years, showed that the population's needs, and especially its housing needs, would grow in the short term. The 1992 Canada-Quebec agreement provided for the investment of $5 million to restore infrastructure prior to the transfer of the land by the Quebec government. Of this amount, 58 perc ent was paid by the Canadian government and 42 percent by the Quebec government. A number of government partners were involved in the different stages of the project, including the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation at the federal level, and the Ministère des Affaires municipales, the Ministère des Ressources naturelles, the Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Faune, the Ministère des Transports and the Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones at the provincial level.

The Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Jane Stewart, said, "This is a good example of partnership at all levels. Together, Aboriginal people and government representatives have managed to lay the foundations for a concrete contribution to the Montagnais community of Matimekosh, reflecting the objectives of Gathering Strength."

In 1998-1999, the federal government will invest an additional $4.8 million for the development project on the boundary of the reserve extension. This project will be carried out through allowances for housing, infrastructure and administrative or community buildings. Local manpower has been trained to do the work, which will also contribute to the community's economic and social development.

The Quebec Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Guy Chevrette, was pleased that the Montagnais had access to some of the Schefferville municipal lands, and to equipment made available by the restructuring. "This transfer is very important for the Matimekosh Montagnais," said the Minister, "since it will provide them with a better quality of life and additional services. The project is entirely consistent with the priorities of the Quebec government, aimed at achieving concrete results in the issues that are priorities of Aboriginal people."

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For further information, please contact:

Chief Jacques Gauthier
Council of the Montagnais
of Matimekosh
(418) 585-2601
Lucie Dumas
Secrétariat aux affaires
autochtones
(418) 643-3166
Hélène Philippe
DIAND
(418) 648-7675
Signature gouvernementale
Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
905, avenue Honoré-Mercier, 1er étage - Québec (Qc)  G1R 5M6 - 418 643-3166
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