UOI OFFICES, Sept. 10, 2012 /CNW/ - First Nations parties to the
Robinson Huron Treaty haven't seen their benefits increased in 138
Chiefs representing the 21 First Nations who participated in the 1850
treaty ceremonies notified the Crown today that they intend to commence
an action to have the annuities provisions of the pact enforced by the
courts if a settlement cannot be negotiated.
The Notice of Claim was served upon Her Majesty the Queen in Right of
Canada and Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Ontario, on behalf of
Treaty beneficiaries, each of whom currently receives $4 per year. The
annuity has not increased since 1874.
"This day is a long time coming," said Patrick Madahbee, Grand Council
Chief of the Anishinabek Nation. "I hope every beneficiary of the
Robinson Huron Treaty joins me in saying 'miigwetch' to our Robinson
Huron Chiefs for taking this gigantic step together.
"The Treaty is pretty clear that the annuities would increase when the
resource revenue generated from the territory increased," said
Madahbee, who helped initiate this process over 30 years ago. "It
couldn't be plainer that the territory has generated vast amounts of
revenues from forestry, mining and other resource development. Still we
receive four dollars per year. That is unfair and not what we bargained
The Grand Council Chief pointed to today's annual report of the Mining
Association of Canada, which referenced an estimated $9 billion in
payments last year to provincial and federal governments in aggregate
mining taxes and royalties, corporate income taxes and personal income
"Corporations have realized trillions of dollars in resource wealth from
our territories. And various levels of government in Canada are taking
big shares of that wealth, some of which rightfully belongs to the
First Nations who agreed to treaties like Robinson Huron."
Under the Robinson Huron Treaty, signed on September 9th, 1850, the
Anishinabek ("Ojibewa Indians") agreed to share their lands and
resources with the newcomers - approximately 35,700 square miles of
territory. In return, the Crown, among other things, was supposed to
pay annuities that were to be augmented from time to time.
The Chiefs are seeking an accounting, want the level of annuities
increased, and are claiming compensation for losses suffered as a
result of the Crown's failure to increase the annuities under the
treaty, as promised. Today they gave notice to Canada and Ontario that
they intend to commence a court action against the Crown should it
refuse to engage in negotiations, or in the event negotiations fail.
The Notice of Claim was served today at the Ontario Legislature at
Queen's Park in Toronto on the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, The
Honourable David Onley. It will also be served on the Governor General
of Canada, The Right Honourable David Johnston.
Serpent River First Nation Chief Isadore Day serves as Robinson Huron
Treaty Commissioner for the Anishinabek Nation.
"I am holding out hope that the Crown will choose to negotiate and
engage in negotiations to settle our claim," he said. "We are in for a
battle that could take a lot of time. I urge our citizens to be patient
and to continue their support."
Chief Day also noted that the number of beneficiaries is unknown.
"I am a direct descendant of Wiindawtegowinini, a signatory chief. I am
a beneficiary but my brother is not. Many beneficiaries were illegally
disentitled to their treaty benefits through federal policy and
legislation around 'status indians'. Treaty entitlement and Indian
status are not the same thing. Our treaty predates the 1867 British
North America Act and the Indian Act and it is constitutionally
protected. I would say that trumps the Indian Act."
Chief Day added: "While we as leaders wait for the next step in this
litigation, our citizens can rest assured that the
government-to-government relationship will be the focus of pressure
from First Nation leaders across the treaty territory."
There are 21 First Nations parties to the Robinson Huron Treaty. All but
Batchewana First Nation of Ojibways and Shawanaga First Nation
participate in the Anishinabek Nation Grand Council.
The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its
secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 39 member
communities across Ontario, representing approximately 55,000 people.
The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in
Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires,
which existed long before European contact.
SOURCE: Anishinabek Nation
For further information:
Phone: 705-497-9127 ext. 2272
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