Robinson-Huron Treaty First Nations Call On Canada To Honour Treaties

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Dean Sayers
Batchewana First Nation Chief Dean Sayers

The 21 First Nations of the Robinson-Huron Treaty are calling on Canada to honour its Treaty obligations to the Mi’kmaw and Lake Huron Anishinabe and all other First Nations Treaty partners.

The call comes at the beginning of Treaties Recognition Week in Ontario, and a week after sending a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pointing out the ongoing failure of the federal government to uphold the Robinson-Huron Treaty.

The letter specifically points to Canada’s failure to honour the treaty right to increased annuities based on a fair-share resource development in Robinson-Huron territory, and uphold the judgement of Justice Hennessey with regard to the Robinson-Huron Treaty Annuities case.

In June of this year, Justice Hennessey found that the Crown has an obligation to increase Treaties’ annuities when economic circumstances warrant.

The action was in response to the Crown’s failure to honour promises made in their longstanding Treaty relationship with the Lake Huron Anishinabe that dates back to the Royal Proclamation of 1763.

“We’ve never given up jurisdiction over our lands and waters,” said Chief Dean Sayers of Batchewana First Nation. “The Treaty outlines a framework for peaceful co-existence that respects our inherent rights as Anishinabe people. We have respected the Treaty relationship; now Canada must uphold its side of the agreement.”

“Across the country, we’re seeing what happens when Canada fails to live up to their Treaty obligations, and the effect this has on peaceful and respectful co-existence with First Nations,” said Ogimaa Duke Peltier of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory. “We are asking the government to do what is legally required of them, as proven by two court decisions, and to give us our fair share as required by the Treaty.”

Dr. Elizabeth Carlson, a professor of social work at Laurentian University, is among those calling for the Crown to honour the Treaties.

Two Laurentian students have launched a petition calling on Ontario to uphold the Robinson-Huron Treaty, and abandon its appeals of Justice Hennessey’s decisions in Phase 1 and 2 of the annuities case.

Phase 3 of the annuity case is set to begin next September.

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