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2-02230

ONTARIO'S CAT LAKE FIRST NATION ACQUIRES RESERVE LANDS

CAT LAKE, ONTARIO (January 21, 2003) - The Honourable Robert D. Nault, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, along with Cat Lake First Nation Chief Charles Wesley, are pleased to announce that Cat Lake First Nation has acquired an additional 1,553 hectares (3,835.91 acres) of new reserve land under the Government of Canada's Addition to Reserve policy.

"We are a northern First Nation and the land is at the heart of our culture and who we are as a people," said Chief Wesley. "Increasing our reserve base today has opened up many new opportunities for the Cat Lake community. This can only help strengthen our independence as Ojibway people."

The addition to the reserve involves several parcels of land that will increase Cat Lake's land base by seven times its original size (218 hectares or 538.46 acres). The land has been appraised at a market value of $84,500. The Government of Ontario played a significant role in the land negotiations. The province was responsible for selling the parcels of land to the federal government which, in turn, granted Cat Lake its addition to reserve.

"Adding to Cat Lake's land base will increase the level of independence of the First Nation," said Minister Nault. "This is an important step in helping Cat Lake achieve greater self-sufficiency and improving their quality of life."

Cat Lake is an Ojibway community located 180 km north of Sioux Lookout, Ontario. The First Nation has a registered population of 465 people, consisting of 362 people living on reserve, 77 people living off reserve, and 26 members residing in other First Nation communities.

For further information, please contact:

Pam Simpson
Land Negotiator, Lands and Trust Services
DIAND, Ontario Region South
Toronto, Ontario
TEL (416) 954 - 9900

Chief Charles Wesley
Cat Lake First Nation
TEL (807) 347 - 2100

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