Russian aboriginals want Yukon treaties

DAWSON CITY, Yukon, 26 June 2001: Aboriginal people in Russia are hoping they can get a translation of the treaties Yukon First Nations have signed with the federal government.

The Russians say Yukon's land claim agreements are the best in the world, and are hoping to use the translation to forge similar agreements with their own governments at home. A delegate from Russia is making the pitch for a translation at the Yukon Council of First Nations meeting in Dawson City.

The Vice President of the Russian Association of Indigenous People says Yukon land claims could be a blueprint for deals with the Russian government. "We now have the agreement of the President and the Parliament and the officials to allocate and give native people the rights to their lands," he says.

Grand Chief Ed Schultz agrees the Yukon treaties are the best, though he says he has a tough time convincing his own people that's the case. Schultz and first nations leaders from the N.W.T., Alaska and Russia are working on an agreement to share treaty information.