[S.I.S.I.S. note: The following mainstream news article may contain biased or distorted information and may be missing pertinent facts and/or context. It is provided for reference only.]
St. Andrews, New Brunswick - Passamaquoddy natives have moved a step closer to making a land claim for approximately 30 hectares of land in teh quiet resort town of St. Andrews. The newly formed Schoodic Passamaquoddy Indian Band met with representatives of the federal and provincial governments this week to discuss the official process of making a land claim in Canada. This is the first such meeting. The band, which has a majority of members living across the border in Maine, is not recognized as a legitimate band in Canada. "It's why we formed the band here," said Hugh Akagi, who was elected as chief. "According to (Canada's) Indian Act, we did not exist."
They decided to play by the government's rules even though the more than 40 members who live on the Canadian side of the border belive they should be recognized because they have always had ties with land at Indian Point in St. Andrews. Akagi confirmed the band has applied to the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development for official recognition. "Just by having this meeting, we are considering it a formal reply to our application," he added. Until now, the band has made its appeal for land ownership to the Town of St. Andrews to no avail. Both the current council and the one preceeding it argued the town did not have jurisidction to grant any land to the natives.
Akagi and his band members took that refusal of responsibility as a sign of disrespect. "The meeting (Wednesday) felt very good. It was the first time we have stepped into a room in St. Andrews and got that kind of respect," he said. "We didn't get that at town hall." Indian and Northern Affairs representative Mark Davis said the meeting has officially opened the communications lines with the Passamaquoddy people.