We love our traditional & contemporary lands and continue to hunt, fish, trap, and gather from the land as much as we can. We want to continue to use our lands in new ways: caring for and protecting our lands while creating economic opportunities from the land that has provided for our people for millennia.
York Factory Resource Management Area (RMA)
In 1957, Manitoba Hydro began hydro-electric development along the Nelson River starting with the Kelsey Generating Station. Then in the 1970’s, the Lake Winnipeg Regulation (LWR) and Churchill River Diversion (CRD) projects moved ahead. Finally, between 1974 and 1990, the Kettle, Long Spruce, and Limestone Generating Stations were completed. In response to the negative impacts of hydro-electric development on the lands and waters along the Nelson River, YFFN joined with other affected First Nations to form the Northern Flood Committee (NFC) which facilitated negotiations of the Northern Flood Agreement (NFA). The NFA was signed in 1977 by the Government of Canada, the Province of Manitoba, Manitoba Hydro, and the NFC.
In 1995, YFFN concluded the Comprehensive Implementation Agreement (CIA) with the Government of Canada, the Province of Manitoba, and Manitoba Hydro. The CIA formalized YFFN’s Resource Management Area, however, the RMA only partially resembled YFFN’s larger traditional territory and former York Registered Trapline (RTL). The CIA granted YFFN co-management rights to the RMA through participation on the Resource Management Board (RMB) which consists of representatives from both YFFN and Manitoba. The establishment of the YFFN RMA meant a new co-management relationship to the land and method for taking care of the land.
The 1995 Comprehensive Implementation Agreement (CIA) states that the Board, made up of YFFN and Manitoba, may:
- Investigate resources, their use, and any influences on them;
- Monitor activities within the Resource Management Area;
- Propose subjects for research;
- Prepare information and communication strategies;
- Hold meetings or workshops or otherwise consult publicly or privately with any person;
- Develop and recommend Resource Management Plans;
- Develop and recommend Land Use Plans;
- Carry out other duties jointly assigned to it by York Factory and Manitoba.
Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE)
Reserve lands promised in Treaty 5 Adhesion were never provided for our people. In 1986, the federal government transferred 2390.5 acres of Reserve Lands at York Landing to our First Nation. In the 1990s, Manitoba and Canada negotiated the Manitoba Framework Agreement (MFA) Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE) that identified 29,173 outstanding acres of land. Our First Nation voted in favor of Chief and Council signing the agreement, but Chief and Council never signed the agreement due to legal concerns. In 2018, YFFN (an Entitlement First Nation (EFN)) is exploring options to proceed with the Treaty Land Entitlements. Under the 1997 MFA, YFFN can only acquire land within Manitoba.
Compensation & Fee Simple Lands
The 1995 CIA also provided York Factory First Nation with Compensation Lands and Fee Simple Lands. To this date, specific areas of land near York Factory and in Churchill have been identified but have yet to be transferred to YFFN.
Our Coastal Homeland
York Landing (Kawéchiwásik) is now home to our community, but our ancestral home at York Factory (Kischi Wáskáhikan) continues to be at the coast. We remain deeply connected to our traditional territory. At every opportunity, we return to the coast to celebrate our community, land, and culture. Every fall, YFFN contributes considerable resources to bring a few of our resource users to York Factory to trap, hunt, and fish, maintaining a connection and knowledge of the land, waters, and wildlife at the coast. Our former Silver Goose lodge sits amidst the foundations of our former homes in York Factory and the modern camp at Ten Shilling Creek looks over the same waters that our members have fished for the entirety of our oral history.