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The Indian Association of Alberta – Treaty Aboriginal Rights Research Program (IAA-TARR) was established on March 1, 1971 in Edmonton, Alberta, as a result of increasing First Nations political activity across Canada. It was overseen by the Indian Association of Alberta and functioned as a professional non-political research and resource center for First Nation communities in Alberta who are members of Treaty 6, 7 and 8. Initial projects were funded through special grants. By 1973, the Department of Indian Affairs Northern Development (DIAND) agreed to provide full funding for its activities.
The IAA-TARR Program operated out of an Edmonton office and an Ottawa office. The Edmonton branch was responsible for fieldwork and development of specific and comprehensive claims, liaising directly with First Nation communities that were utilizing its research services. The Ottawa office was responsible for archival research in the National archives to locate records that documented the historical grievances of member First Nation communities.
The initial purpose of the IAA-TARR Program was to establish a common understanding and mutual agreement on the issue of First Nation Treaties, Treaty rights, and Treaty implementation with the federal government. IAA-TARR Program’s early work focused on establishing a claims settlement mechanism to resolve the historical claims and grievances against the federal Crown. As the program grew and developed, its primary purpose evolved to center around the research, development and resolution of land claims, and other treaty grievances on behalf its member Nations. The IAA-TARR Program also recorded, translated and transcribed many Elder interviews as part of Elder testimony on the interpretation of Treaties 6, 7 and 8. In addition, the TARR Program was also directed by the IAA to research and produce position papers on a variety of issues facing First Nations on a national level.