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Tli Cho

The Tli Cho (Tłįchǫ) First Nation, formerly known as the Dogrib, are an Aboriginal Canadian people living in the Northwest Territories (NWT).

On August 25, 2003, they signed a land-claims agreement with the Canadian federal government. The agreement will cede a 39 000 km² area between Great Bear Lake and Great Slave Lake in the NWT to Tlicho ownership. The territory includes both of Canada's diamond mines. The land claim is also called Tli Cho.

The Tlicho will have their own legislative bodies in the area's four communities, of which the chiefs must be Tlicho, though anyone may run for councillor and vote. The legislatures will have, among other authorities, the power to collect taxes; levy resource royalties, which currently go to the federal government; and control hunting, fishing, and industrial development.

The Tlicho will also receive payments of $152-million over 15 years and annual payments of approximately $3.5 million.

The federal government will retain control of criminal law, as it does across Canada, and the NWT will control services such as health care and education.

This land-claims process took twenty years to conclude. A similar process with the Inuit in the NWT brought about the creation of the new territory of Nunavut. Though Tli Cho will not be a separate territory, the extent of its powers has invited comparisons both with the birth of Nunavut and with the creation of the NWT government in 1967 (it had previously been administered from Ottawa).

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