TORONTO, ON (Queen's Park), Sept. 10, 2012 /CNW/ - Chiefs from the Robinson Huron Treaty territory, served Notice of Claim today on the Crown in right of Canada and the Crown in right of Ontario regarding the longstanding failure of the Crown to raise annuities under the Robinson Huron Treaty of 1850.
Under the Robinson Huron Treaty, signed on September 9th, 1850, the Anishinabek ("Ojibway 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. Treaty beneficiaries currently get $4.00 per year and there has been no increase since 1874. This despite the fact that the Treaty is explicit in stating that the annuities would increase if the resource revenue generated from the territory produced such an amount as to enable the increase without incurring a loss.
The Robinson Huron Treaty territory has undoubtedly yielded vast amounts of revenues from forestry, mining and other resource development activities over the years, yet the annuities have remained at a mere $4.00 per year. The Chiefs are seeking an accounting; they want the level of annuities increased; and they claim compensation for losses suffered as a result of the Crown's failure to increase the annuities under the Robinson Huron Treaty, as promised. The notice asks that the Crown deal "liberally and justly" with their claim, in accordance with the honour of the Crown, and engage in negotiations to settle the claim. Also, notice was given that the Chiefs intend to commence a court action against the Crown should it refuse to engage in negotiations, or in the event negotiations fail.
"We have chosen today - the 162nd Anniversary of the signing of the Robinson Huron Treaty - to declare that our people are tired of living in poverty, we want our fair share", said Angus Toulouse, spokesman for the Chiefs. Today's Robinson Huron Treaty Chiefs and Councils intend to ensure that the Crown lives up to its obligations under the Treaty," said Toulouse. "The Robinson Huron Treaty anticipates and provides economic benefits for us in perpetuity. The annuity was intended to be our revenue stream, our share of the wealth generated by revenues from our territory, yet many of the beneficiaries live in poverty. This is not what our ancestors bargained for."
Spokesman Chief Dean Sayers of Batchewana First Nation of Ojibways added: "This is a serious, long-standing breach of our treaty and a breach of fiduciary obligation on the part of the Crown. Canada's largest export to the world is our resources and both the Ontario and national economies benefit, but we see nothing from this except for the annual $4.00 dollar payment. That's grossly inadequate; we want the Crown to negotiate a fairer share with us."
The Robinson Huron Treaty was entered into on September 9, 1850, 162 years ago. The Notice of Claim will be served on the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, The Honourable David Onley, and on the Governor General of Canada, The Right Honourable David Johnson.
SOURCE: Robinson Huron Treaty Chiefs Launch Notice of Claim
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