08/07/2012 04:07 EDT | Updated 10/07/2012 05:12 EDT

First Nations meet to discuss treaties and natural resources

PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. - First Nations leaders from Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta are in Prince Albert this week to discuss their right to natural resources.

They are focusing on treaties that fall under the Natural Resources Transfer Agreement.

That agreement shifted control of Crown land and natural resources from the federal government to the Prairie provinces in 1930.

Brian Hardlotte, vice-chief of the Prince Albert Grand Council, says First Nations may have ceded their right to the land, but not to its resources.

"All we gave up when our elders signed the treaties was the top soil," he said. "Depth of the plow, they said, six inches, for the newcomers when they came West on our land to grow their crops, to feed themselves.

"And we allowed that. And they put us on reserves."

He says aboriginal people must push harder for a share of the wealth.

"We need a plan. This has been a topic for First Nations governments for a long time. It's not the first time it's been discussed," Hardlotte said.

"But now we want to move forward. Let's get things done. We want to get the governments to listen to us."

Hardlotte adds it would be easier to get attention if First Nations leaders from all three provinces spoke with one voice.

The Prince Albert meeting is the second of three on the issue. The first was held last year and the final one is to go ahead in 2013.