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Feds, First Nations eye first Indigenous self-government agreement in Ontario

OTTAWA — Negotiations have concluded on a proposed self-government agreement in Ontario that Ottawa says would be the first of its kind if ratified.

Indigenous-Crown Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett says the milestone shows groundwork has been laid for First Nations in Ontario to move beyond the Indian Act and toward the goal of self-government.

Parliament passed the Indian Act in 1876, giving the federal government enormous power over the control of registered First Nations people, bands and the reserve system.

The federal government says four parts of the act that deal with governance will no longer apply to Anishinabek First Nations who ratify the proposed agreement.

The changes would mean that First Nations could make decisions about leadership, citizenship, government operations and how to best protect and promote their language and culture.

Anishinabek First Nations are now set to hold a ratification vote in February.

The Canadian Press