Moving forward with Unfinished Treaty Business – Part I

Moving forward with Unfinished Treaty Business – Part I

Moving forward with Unfinished Treaty Business – Part I

Treaty 2 territory – The resources of the land have been exploited without the consultation or consent of the Anishinaabe, without benefit to the Anishinaabe, and without recognition of their Aboriginal Title. This failure of the past is what guides the claim of the Anishinaabe of Treaty 2 territory. The goal of the Anishinaabe of Treaty 2 territory is to have their inherent right to the title of the territory be recognized; and for the Crown to rectify their failure of fiduciary duty to the Anishinaabe of Treaty 2 by means of fair compensation. A true land base that is unsettled and unoccupied and a fair compensation will allow the Anishinaabe people to regain self-sufficiency in a new world.

The terms and primary features of the treaty process following the provisions of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and Treaty of Niagara 1764:

  • the sole purpose of taking up lands was for immigration and settlement, and;
  • the Treaty 2 did not apply to lands not taken up for Immigration and Settlement, and;
  • no mention of original and ancestral natural resources is made in the Treaty 2, and;
  • no mention is made in the Treaty 2 of compensation – the Queen ordered “the Government of Canada” to pay compensation for the lands taken up for immigration and settlement

The Queen’s orders to the Government of Canada were not only directive – they were imperative – they must be obeyed. The validity of the Government’s conduct is open to challenge, and in sum, lands can be taken up:

  • only for settlement;
  • fair compensation must be paid;
  • other lands still “belong to the Indians”;
  • resources and waters were not included in the Treaty.

“No claims to compensation for lands not required for settlement were envisaged because it must have been assumed that those lands would be left in the possession of the Indian Tribes. It might even be contended that the condition limited the Canadian government’s authority to negotiate surrenders of lands to lands actually required for settlement.” — Professor Kent McNeil, Osgoode Hall

The argument can be made that the Treaty has not been implemented and broken by the Crown (Canada); thus, it could be further argued that all the lands be reverted back to the Anishinaabe through their Inherent Rights due to the failing of the Crown to uphold contractual agreement.

The bargaining position of the two parties was not equal, the information possessed by the parties not the same, the negotiating was not fair. There is an argument that the Treaty was not effective. The bargain was that the price paid by the Crown was in fact a small portion of the land of the Anishinaabe, later delineated by the unilateral Indian Act of 1876. The land set out for the Anishinaabe in no way compares with the quantity and quality of the land taken up by the settlers. Fiduciary duty again was not honored.

“Today after 147 years, Treaty 2 and Crown (Canada representing) are back at the table discussing the very important issues that we have. ‘Immigration and Settlement’ was the primary intent of the Treaty and now the real work begins to address our unfinished Treaty business. We are reclaiming our Rights and are in the process of rebuilding our Nation. The people of Treaty 2 are establishing a contemporary government that will protect the land, water, and resources in our territory. With the Protocol in place, we will move forward to not only reclaim our right to be self-determining, but to rebuild our nation, as it was meant to be 147 years ago.”  Grand Chief Eugene Eastman, Treaty 2 Territory, Chief of the O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nation (Quote taken from 2018 Protocol with Canada, Representing the Crown)