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SIGNATURE OF A STATEMENT OF UNDERSTANDING AND MUTUAL RESPECT AS WELL AS A FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE MICMACS OF GESGAPEGIAG AND THE QUÉBEC GOVERNMENT

Translation

Gesgapegiag, February 11, 1999 - The Chief of the Band Council of Gesgapegiag, John Martin, and the Minister of Transport, Minister for Native Affairs and Minister responsible for Wildlife and Parks, Guy Chevrette, today signed two important documents designed to foster the development in partnership of this Micmac community located in Gaspésie.

In the Statement of Understanding and Mutual Respect, Québec and Gesgapegiag agree to emphasize discussion and negotiation with a view to achieving harmonious and lasting relations.

The framework agreement is the general framework within which agreements will be reached in various sectors of common interest. In the initial phase, the parties have undertaken to negotiate two agreements. The first seeks to have the Micmacs of Gesgapegiag participate in partnership in the management and development of forest and wildlife resources. The second agreement involves the construction and operation of an ethno-tourism centre in the community. In the second phase, other sectors such as economic development, education, health, public security and taxation may be negotiated.

Chief John Martin stated: "The Gesgapegiag Band Council has been working on this file for close to two years now. We are happy that finally we are going to sign this framework agreement. We intend to remain fully committed to our vision which is to exploit the territories concerned in a manner consistent with the traditional Micmaq world view. The agreement represents serious potential to improve our economic and social situation which has been deplorable for the past few hundred years. We hope that the outcome will be something that our people and the Quebec government can be proud of. This initiative is not a final solution by a long shot, but it represents the first serious step in the right direction in along, long time by the Quebec government in their relationship with us."

"These agreements flow from the new approach defined in the guidelines the Québec government adopted in April 1998," Mr. Chevrette noted. "This is one more practical step towards achieving a partnership between the Québec government and native people. We will continue to take significant steps to encourage aboriginal communities to participate in the development of their region. This is how our government wants to harmonize relations between native and non-native people in Québec," Minister Chevrette concluded.

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SOURCES:
Esther Boily
Office of Minister Guy Chevrette
Telephone: (418) 643-6980
Fax: (418) 643-2033
Band Council of Gesgapegiaq
Telephone: (418) 759-3441
Fax: (418) 759-5856
Signature gouvernementale
Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
905, avenue Honoré-Mercier, 1er étage - Québec (Qc)  G1R 5M6 - 418 643-3166
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