Treaty One Nations and the City of Winnipeg have arrived at the new Gaawijijigemangit Agreement, which if finalized, would mean the largest urban reserve in Canada will soon be located in Winnipeg.

This Municipal Development & Services Agreement would see the city provide municipal services for a proposed urban reserve at the Naawi-Oodena site, formerly referred to as the Kapyong Barracks that run along Route 90. The Governing Council of the Treaty One Nations formally approved the Agreement on May 27, 2022. The Agreement now requires approval from City Council before going forward with signing with the seven Treaty One First Nations.

"This is a time to celebrate the legacy of our First Nations leaders," says Chief Gordon BlueSky, Treaty One Nation Chairperson in a news release. "For two decades, they have pushed to reclaim our rightful place in Treaty One territory. The Gaawijijigemangit Agreement is a symbol of meaningful government to government collaboration and respectful negotiations. The Agreement is a major step forward in expanding Treaty One Nations’ leadership in the Manitoba economy."

The approach to this agreement is unlike any prior agreements, according to Michael Jack, the City of Winnipeg Chief Administrative Officer.

"Beginning with the clear, mutual understanding that the parties were building an entire community where nothing has actively existed for decades. While two other urban reserves currently exist within the City of Winnipeg, Naawi-Oodena is relatively novel in terms of size, the magnitude of potential development, and scope of activities to be included."

The two parties, representatives of Treaty One Nation and the City’s Public Service, have been collaborating and working together for years. The proposed Agreement is the result of discussion, review, and analysis of common and best practices across Canada, through the lens of reconciliation.

While the Agreement provides the fundamental framework for all future collaboration and engagement, the City and Treaty One Nation also acknowledge that development of this scale will continue to require ongoing work, and have agreed to the creation of a Joint Committee which will play a crucial role in the implementation and ongoing administration of the Agreement.

The agreement has yet to be formally approved but once it is, the Treaty One Nation hopes to move forward with development plans. 

According to the release, the proposed Agreement states that Treaty One Nation will develop the overall site in parallel and in conjunction with the Canada Lands Corporation (CLC), with Treaty One Nation developing 68 percent of the lands, and CLC developing the remaining 32 percent. At this time, the City has agreed to provide services in and on Naawi-Oodena land in a scope and manner consistent with the rest of the City. As Treaty One Nation develops further and builds certain capacities, it may choose to provide various services in and on the Naawi-Oodena land.

The proposed Agreement will be discussed at the next meeting of the City’s Executive Policy Committee scheduled for Wednesday, June 15, 2022.