Almost 60% of First Nations along the planned Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline between Alberta and B.C. have signed on to become part owners.
The announcement by the company comes amid a phalanx of opposition by some First Nations and environmental groups during public hearings.
But the agreements prove there is greater support for the almost 1,200-kilometre pipeline, said Enbridge spokesman Paul Stanway.
"It's a good place for us to start in demonstrating that there is aboriginal support for Northern Gateway," Stanway said. "It's not 100%, but neither is it the wall of opposition that our opponents sometimes claim."
The 10% equity ownership for the First Nations who signed the deal will give them about $280 million over 30 years. They would see cash flow starting in the first year of the pipeline's operation.