05/25/2015 04:44 EDT | Updated 05/25/2016 05:59 EDT

Mohawk council must release all claim to disputed Quebec territory to get $239M

AKWESASNE, Ont. - The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne says Ottawa has offered more than $239 million as compensation for roughly 8,100 hectares of disputed territory located along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec.

The offer is subject to a community referendum and in order to receive payment from Canada the council must renounce all further claims to the land.

Mohawk community members say the territory, called Tsikaristisere or "Dundee lands," was never officially surrendered to Canada and negotiations over the land have been on and off since the 1980s.

The disputed territory is called Township of Dundee and is located in the southwest corner of Quebec.

Canada's Aboriginal Affairs department released a statement Monday evening stating it has "tabled a settlement offer for the First Nation's consideration," but did not confirm the $239 million figure.

"Resolution of the Tsikaristisere/Dundee Specific claim will bring economic benefits to the region and create new economic development opportunities for its members as well as their neighbours," the statement read.

The council said the federal government's offer also provides for roughly 7,400 hectares of land — within the claim area — that could be purchased by the Mohawk community and turned into reserve territory, if current owners are willing to sell.

Calls to the Mohawk council were not returned on Monday.

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