The Treaty 9 land claims settlement clearly begins at the boundary between the provinces of Ontario and Quebec

The Treaty 9 land claims settlement (pale blue) clearly begins at the boundary between the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The Quebec Cree have filed a lawsuit in Ontario claiming some 48,000 sq.km of area in Ontario
Photo Credit: Government of Ontario

More confusion-controversy over aboriginal land claim

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It started earlier this year when the Quebec Cree aboriginal group filed a legal notice of a large new land claim. The new claim extended into neighbouring Ontario and covers 48,000 square kilometres where other aboriginal communities already had long established claims.

Then two other aboriginal groups, the Wahgoshig of Ontario and the Abitibiwinni of Quebec protested the Quebec Cree claim which engulfs their own settlements.

Both groups said they were shocked by the Cree claim as they had not been consulted before the Cree filed the claim in Ontario Superior court.

The Wahgoshig and Taykwa Tagamou areas are within the lands now being claimed by the Quebec Cree.
The Wahgoshig and Taykwa Tagamou areas are within the lands now being claimed by the Quebec Cree. Treaty 9 area in pale blue, Treaty 61 at bottom in pale brown © Government of Ontario

Now another Ontario group, Taykwa Tagamou First Nation has joined the Wahgoshig and Abitibiwinni in saying the Cree claim also infringes on their traditional lands.

Quoted in the Daily Press, , the lawyer representing Taykwa Tagamou  says, “We will do what we need to to protect our rights”.  Aaron Detlor added, “The first step is going to be to understand what the Cree of Quebec are actually seeking with this lawsuit. What they are seeking is something called ‘shared Aboriginal title.’ And at this point, we’re not sure what they mean by that.”

The Taykwa Tagamou also want an apology from the Quebec Cree for proceeding without first discussing with them.

But that’s hardly the end of it the concerns as the Moose Cree further north in Ontario also say the Quebec Cree claim infringes on their territory as well. In addition, the Moose Cree have ongoing discussions about possibly overlapping claims with the Wahgoshig.

The province of Quebec is shaded green, Ontario-tan. The Blue line encircles present Wahgoshig and Abitibiwinni treaty area.The shaded area is shared. Red line indicates new limit in Ontario claimed as outright Cree title territory, the Green line as limit of aboriginal rights (to be shared) Both or the lines claimed by the Cree extend northward to James Bay. Approximate location of the town of Cochrane shown
The province of Quebec is shaded green, Ontario-tan. The Blue line encircles present Wahgoshig and Abitibiwinni treaty area.The shaded area is shared. Red line indicates new limit in Ontario claimed as outright Cree title territory, the Green line as limit of aboriginal rights (to be shared) Both or the lines claimed by the Cree extend northward to James Bay. Approximate location of the town of Cochrane shown ©  Wahgoshig and Abitibiwinni First Nationa

The issue could very possibly call the validity of the entire Treaty 9 into doubt.

The Quebec Cree claim that the Ontario-Quebec border and subsequent land claims deprived them of access and rights to land they had traditionally used by their ancestors.  They are also seeking millions of dollars in compensation in addition to the land.

Lawyer Aaron Detlor agrees the situation needs to be resolved and a new treaty may be the result. “There are some serious questions about the validity of Treaty No. 9. What this means is that we may be put in a position where we have to sit down and renegotiate the terms of Treaty No. 9”.

Noting that provincial and federal officials as well as the various aboriginal groups would have to be involved, he added, ““The treaty relationship was never meant to be frozen in time. From the perspective of Taykwa Tagamou, it was always something that was supposed to be revisited, renewed and strengthened”.

There are 46 treaties with First Nations groups in Ontario, signed between 1781 and 1930

Additional information- sources

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2 comments on “More confusion-controversy over aboriginal land claim
  1. J Hughes says:

    The difference between ‘the American’ way and the ‘Canadian’ way is striking and the ‘Canadian’ way is so much more just, too.

    Just as well Harper and Harris have gone – both appeared to have problems about treaties.

    Does this mean friends, a family in Kapukasing, have claim to First Nations, status, too?

  2. Rene Albert says:

    If most of Ontarians were declared living on a reserve, would they be exempt from paying income tax?