Treaty Land Entitlement and Urban Reserves in Saskatchewan

Aboriginal Futures, Research Papers, Tom Flanagan

The Frontier Centre for Public Policy today released a study about treaty land entitlement and urban reserves in Saskatchewan. The study was conducted by Dr. Tom Flanagan, Professor Emeritus, University of Calgary, and Mr. Lee Harding, who was a M.A. student in the School of Public Policy.

Saskatchewan’s Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE) initiative provides funds for First Nations to purchase land to compensate them for shortfalls in the size of their reserves that were established after the treaties were signed. First Nations may use the money to purchase non-contiguous lands in towns and cities, which then become “urban reserves”.

This paper uses the Community Well-Being (CWB) index to investigate whether or not the First Nations who participated in the TLE and then purchased urban reserves have shown more rapid improvement in their community well-being than other Saskatchewan First Nations.

The results are mixed. Participation in the TLE and purchasing urban reserves has not led to measurable improvement in the band members’ well-being. However, improvement has been quite dramatic for eight First Nations that have used their urban reserves for intensive economic initiatives, including building and managing casinos, recreational facilities, restaurants, shopping centres, and gas stations. Urban reserves appear to be a promising path for improving the standard of living of aboriginal people and communities that have an entrepreneurial spirit.

Read the entire paper here: PS193_TreatyLand_CF1