Treaty 2 Territory – “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 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.
The promise of fertile land was never fulfilled. The reserves are substandard for the purposes of agriculture as compared to the land provided to the settlers. The honor of the Crown was not maintained. The resources of the land were not equally shared.
If a case is made and the treaty deemed broken, Anishinaabe title would remain; therefore, a new arrangement would have to be arrived at, with the two parties aware of historical and present facts and information.
If the treaty is deemed to be restored due to lack of understanding and failure to compensate its terms; then, a new land base, compensation, and accommodation must be arrived at. The promise was that the Anishinaabe would have their title respected and receive the benefits of their land; in turn, they would allow immigration and settlement. Large portions of land remain unsettled and unoccupied, and none, past or present, is being honoured to the Anishinaabe as it was to the settlers.
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. The goal of the Anishinaabe of Treaty 2 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.
“Today after 147 years, Treaty 2 and Canada 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