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DOMAINE CATARAQUI, SILLERY, QUEBEC, MAY 18, 1999 - Linda Jean Simon, Chief of the Micmac Nation of Gespeg, Guy Chevrette the Quebec Minister of Transportation and Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs, Wildlife and Parks, and Jane Stewart, Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs today signed a framework agreement for negotiating self-government for the Micmac Nation of Gespeg.

The purpose of the negotiations is to specify the nature and extent of self-government for the Gespeg band as it applies to activities agreed to by all parties concerned. This framework agreement will allow the Gespeg Micmacs greater self-government and control over their own social and economic development.

In particular, the framework agreement sets out the negotiation process and the form of self-government and economic, social and cultural development for the Micmac Nation of Gespeg. These negotiations will also deal with their land base and other land-related matters, such as traditional activities of hunting, fishing, trapping and food-gathering.

Micmac Chief Linda Jean Simon was very happy with the agreement's signing, declaring: "Today is a historic moment for the Gespeg Micmacs. Signing the framework agreement has paved the way to negotiating a new social contract that will match our expectations. Self-government is one of the keys to our future social, cultural and economic development."

Minister Guy Chevrette stated: "This project is completely in line with the Quebec government's new policy guidelines announced in April 1998. In fact, these guidelines represent a new approach in encouraging self-government and financial independence for Aboriginal communities and I am pleased that the Micmac Nation of Gespeg is able to take advantage of this opportunity."

Minister Jane Stewart affired that "the signing of this agreement sets the stage for very promising self-government perspectives for the Gespeg Micmacs. Renewing partnerships and strengthening communities' social and economic foundations are priorities of the federal government's action plan, " Gathering Strength,"and the agreement signed today is very much in line with the new federal thrust."

The Micmac Nation of Gespeg was formally recognized as an Indian band in 1973. It is the only Indian band in Quebec without a reserve or properties.

In July 1998, the governments of Canada, Quebec and the Micmac Nation of Gespeg started negotiations on self-government for the band. In January 1999, negotiators finalized the terms of the framework agreement that was signed today.

The three stakeholders plan to conclude an agreement-in-principle within two years. A final agreement, together with an implementation plan, will be signed in the year after the agreement-in-principle is signed.

Last April, some 20 representatives from various organizations in the region attended an information session in Gaspé. At this session, representatives from each of the three stakeholder groups explained their respective visions, the self-government negotiation process and the framework agreement's objectives. Other information sessions are scheduled to take place as negotiations continue.

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Contacts: Chantal Cleary
(Le Groupe Cleary)
Gaspé Micmac First Nation
Tel. : (418) 842-3282
Esther Boily
Minister Guy Chevrette's office
Tel. : ( 418) 643-6980
Kelly Acton
Minister Jane Stewart's office
Tel. : (819) 997-0002
Signature gouvernementale
Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
905, avenue Honoré-Mercier, 1er étage - Québec (Qc)  G1R 5M6 - 418 643-3166
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