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Manitoba chiefs want cellphone revenue

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  • Robert Schmidt
    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/story/2007/05/30/manitoba-cellphone.html Manitoba chiefs want cellphone revenue Last Updated: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 | 9:41
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2007
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      http://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/story/2007/05/30/manitoba-cellphone.html

      Manitoba chiefs want cellphone revenue

      Last Updated: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 | 9:41 AM CT
      CBC News

      Manitoba First Nations are seeking compensation from Manitoba Telecom
      Services for every cellphone signal that passes through First Nations land,
      saying the airspace should be considered a resource like land and water.

      At a recent economic development summit, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
      resolved to negotiate revenue sharing with MTS for transmissions signals
      that cross the land, water and air space of their reserves and traditional
      territories.

      "[The request is] based on the understanding that we do have some
      fundamental rights as indigenous people to land, water and airspace," said
      Chief Ovide Mercredi of the Grand Rapids First Nation.

      "When it comes to using airspace, it's like using our water and simply
      because there's no precedent doesn't mean that it's not the right thing to
      do," he said.

      Mercredi says that signals over a significant area of the province would be
      affected, noting that the Cree Nations claim rights to a large portion of
      the north.
      Proposal may inspire more negotiations

      Anna Hunter, a University of Saskatchewan professor of political studies
      specializing in aboriginal governance, says the AMC's request is unique but
      she says other First Nations groups across the country will likely follow
      suit.

      "On a provincewide basis, this is definitely an innovative approach but I
      think it's an approach that other provinces' First Nations groups will
      probably take forward," she said.

      MTS officials have declined to comment on the issue until they see the
      group's proposal.
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