Williams Treaty First Nations, Canada and Ontario reach negotiated settlement

Williams Treaty First Nations, Canada and Ontario reach negotiated settlement agreement for Alderville Litigation

September 13, 2018 – Ottawa, ON – Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Province of Ontario, Williams Treaty First Nations

As we build a new future with First Nations, reconciliation requires that we recognize the wrongs of the past and work collaboratively with Indigenous peoples to take the necessary steps to resolve them with respect.

Today, the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the Seven Williams Treaty First Nations announced that the Federal Court has granted a discontinuance of the Alderville dispute as a result of the parties entering into a negotiated settlement agreement that resolves the dispute.

The Alderville Litigation was filed by the Seven First Nations of the Williams Treaties in 1992 and was adjudicated in 2012. Alderville The dispute revolves around a long-standing dispute over the making, conditions, interpretation and implementation of the Williams Treaties of 1923.

The terms of the negotiated settlement include:

– Financial compensation of $ 1.11 billion ($ 666 million by Canada and $ 444 million by Ontario).

-A right for each First Nation to add up to 11,000 acres of land to its reserve land base, subject to Canada’s Additions to Reserve / Reserve Creation policy. The First Nations are responsible for the acquisition of these lands.

-Recognition of First Nations permanent treaty harvesting rights and commitment to continue working together to implement these rights.

-A commitment by Canada and Ontario to provide oral and written apologies to the Williams Treaty First Nations.

Achieved through partnership and dialogue, the settlement advances reconciliation and resolves outstanding issues in a manner that respects the rights and interests of the seven Williams Treaty First Nations and all Canadians.

A formal celebration of the Settlement Agreement and apology by the Federal and Provincial Crowns are currently planned.

“After years of litigation and repeated attempts at negotiation, I am extremely proud that the negotiating team has successfully resolved our long-standing battle for constitutionally protected hunting and fishing rights. Our ancestors have fought since 1923 to exercise our rights freely and without hindrance and finally we have been able to guarantee this for our people and for future generations. This is a success for the Williams Treaty First Nations, but also for all Ontarians and Canadians who will see a new path forward in Crown-Indigenous relations.

Chief Kelly LaRocca, Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, Portfolio Chief,

Williams First Nations Treaties

“I have been part of the trial and the negotiations for over a decade. We have come full circle. My grandfather, Norman Marsden was one of the signatories of the Williams Treaties and it is gratifying for me to be able to sign my name in this settlement as the current Chief of the Alderville First Nation as it represents all the way that we have walked. This settlement will benefit the Williams Treaty First Nations today and for our future generations.

Chief James Robert Marsden, Alderville First Nation

“The Beausoleil First Nation recognizes and honors our ancestors who endured the hardships created by the misinterpretation of the Williams Treaty of 1923.

Finally, 95 years later, today we celebrate the conclusion of this chapter and work for reconciliation and a new beginning for our community. We express our appreciation and gratitude to Peter Hutchins and all the partners of Hutchins Legal Inc. for their advocacy throughout our litigation. We are extremely proud that our own Karry Sandy, negotiator, was part of this negotiating team and also recognize Ceyda Turan, lawyer, and Mel Jacobs, co-negotiator, for fulfilling their mandate and bringing this settlement home for the Anishinabek from Beausoleil. First Nation. Miigwetch.

Chief Guy Monague, Beausoleil First Nation

“On this historic day, we recognize the hard work of our ancestors, elders, leaders and knowledge keepers in their determination to have our collective treaty rights recognized and affirmed. We are on the road to reconciliation, healing and treaty implementation for the members of Curve Lake and for our future generations. Miigwetch to those who made this Settlement possible.

Chief Phyllis Williams, Curve Lake First Nation

“We are happy to resolve this exceptional injustice which greatly affected our ancestors and had an impact on future generations of our people. We want to recognize and honor our past leaders who began this journey to advance justice and reconciliation. The Williams Treaty resolution will benefit our future generations and help restore the loss of our culture and our independence. I would like to say miigwetch to our chiefs and councilors, our negotiating team, and our lawyers who worked with our first nations and brought us to the Williams treaty. I am grateful that our children do not have to shoulder the burden of resolving this claim. Miigwetch to the Lord Creator for allowing me to be a part of this historic resolution.

Chief Donna Big Canoe, Georgina Island First Nation

“It is with honor and pride for our ancestors and our people today that we have settled the claim of the Williams Treaties for our next seven generations.”

Chief Laurie Carr, Hiawatha First Nation

“The Rama First Nation joins the leadership of the Williams Treaties in celebrating the conclusion of the work our ancestors began so long ago, resolving this longstanding claim. The restoration of harvesting rights over all of our territories is part of our cultural identity that these treaties have compromised. G’chi miigwech to the Williams Treaty members who contributed to this effort and to the leaders, past and present, who have continued to press for a settlement of this claim. This historic settlement paves the way for a better future in our communities for many generations to come.

Chief Rodney Noganosh, Rama First Nation

“Working together in partnership to resolve and right the wrongs of the past is essential in restoring our relationship with Indigenous peoples. This Settlement Agreement is a demonstration of our government’s commitment to move forward to renew our relationship and advance reconciliation between Canada, Ontario and the Williams Treaty First Nations and is an example of what We can accomplish when we uphold the honor of the Crown and treat Indigenous peoples with respect and support strong, healthy and enduring Indigenous nations who are full partners.

The Honorable Carolyn Bennett, MD, PC, MP

Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

“This agreement avoids further costly litigation and will help create opportunities within the Williams Treaty First Nations and surrounding communities.”

The Honorable Greg Rickford, M.P.

Ontario Minister of Indigenous Affairs

“This negotiated settlement supports strong and lasting relationships and means we can focus on the long-term sustainability of Ontario’s natural resources for future generations.

The Honorable Jeff Yurek, MP

Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry

  • The seven Williams Treaty First Nations are: Alderville First Nation, Beausoleil First Nation, Georgina Island Chippewas, Rama Chippewas, Curve Lake First Nation, Hiawatha First Nation and the Mississaugas by Scugog.
  • Since March 2017, the parties have been working together on a negotiated resolution of the Alderville
  • Under the settlement, First Nations can use the funds to purchase land on a willing seller / buyer basis and request Canada to have the land added to their reserve lands.

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