Canada and First Nations in Treaty#4 and Treaty#6 Mark Settlement of Specific Claims
July 18, 2019 — North Battleford, Saskatchewan— Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
Working together in a spirit of co-operation and renewal to find shared solutions through dialogue is the best way to help right past wrongs, honour treaty obligations and advance reconciliation with First Nations in Canada.
Today, the Government of Canada and First Nations in Treaty #4 and Treaty #6 marked the settlement of a number of specific claims for past damages relating to treaty annuity payments withheld from the First Nations during the Northwest Rebellion period between 1885 and 1888.
Settling claims is a key step forward to renew relationships with Fist Nations and a key path to economic growth. Working collaboratively to renew the nation-to-nation relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership, is key to achieving reconciliation with Fist Nations in Canada.
“Achieved through a true spirit of partnership and renewal, settling claims is a key step toward healing and reconciliation with First Nations. As we build a new future with First Nations, reconciliation requires that we acknowledge the wrongs of the past and work collaboratively with First Nations to take the necessary steps to respectfully resolve them.”
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
“This settlement is an important step along the path forward for the members of the Chakastaypasin Band of the Cree Nation as we seek to restore our Nation to its rightful position. Our ancestors were wrongly denied benefits to which they were entitled under Treaty 6 because they were improperly labelled a “rebel” Band during the Northwest Rebellion. This settlement brings closure with respect to one of our historic grievances, but this was not the only breach of Treaty that our people suffered. Today is an important day, but our work continues.”
Chief Calvin Sanderson
Chakastaypasin Band of the Cree Nation
“The Crown’s misconduct underlying this claim has been hanging over our treaty relationship since 1885. If Canada truly wants to advance the mandate of reconciliation, it begins by concrete action, and requires that we address the wrongs of the past. Today’s meeting and the recent settlement of this aspect of our claim is a positive step, and we look forward to working with Canada in the coming months to conclude the remaining issues at the core of this long-outstanding claim.”
Chief Tricia Sutherland
One Arrow First Nation
“Red Pheasant Cree Nation is pleased to see Canada taking this incremental step toward making right on our long history of broken promises. We see this as an opportunity to take a broader look at repairing the treaty relationship and engaging in an open and meaningful process to advance the principles of reconciliation.”
Chief Clint Wuttunee
Red Pheasant Cree Nation
“For the Poundmaker Cree Nation, the events of 1885 were truly devastating. Our members were subjected to a slate of unlawful and unjustified punitive measures, our leaders were deposed, and Chief Poundmaker imprisoned without access to justice or any true due process. Acknowledging these breaches of treaty is a step in the right direction, as is establishing an open and constructive dialogue between our governments based on the principles of truth and reconciliation. The exoneration of Chief Poundmaker and the settlement of the first phase of our claim are encouraging milestones, but it is important to acknowledge that there remains significant work to be done. We look forward to working with Canada to achieve further milestones in months to come, including the settlement of the remaining aspects of this claim.”
Chief Duane Antoine
Poundmaker Cree Nation
“Its great to have Canada at the table to address their historical neglect. It is good to move forward, but to do we will need to address some hard truths about our history and our treaty relationship.”
Chief Wayne Semaganis
Little Pine First Nation
“Canada breached the Treaty in 1885. This breach of treaty is the basis of this claim, and has impacted our Nation for generations. While the Thunderchild Nation is pleased to have found common ground in resolving part of this claim, it is important to recognize that this is only a step towards resolving the larger claim and addressing the other issues in our continuing treaty relationship.”
Chief James Snakeskin
Thunderchild First Nation
“Sweetgrass First Nation is encouraged to see the Government of Canada come to us to acknowledge its past wrongs and begin process of addressing the historical breaches of treaty and setting the record straight. Our Nation looks forward to further meetings with Canada to begin the process of the full implementation of treaty, Nation to Nation.”
Chief Laurence Paskemin
Sweetgrass First Nation
“Reconciliation has neither a beginning nor an end, but it does have landmarks. While we work towards the continued improvement of our treaty relationship, it is critical to acknowledge and address the past and our “outstanding business” with Canada. Settlement of the annuities portion of the Rebellion claim is a landmark, however, much work is left to address the Crown’s failures of the past. The effects of the breaches of treaty at the core of this claim have weighed on our nation and the treaty relationship for generations, having stunted our ability to thrive culturally, economically, and spiritually. We look forward to continuing on with Canada to address these historical harms in order to create a prosperous and sustainable future for our Nation.”
Chief Tanya Agular-Antiman
Mosquito Grizzly Bear’s Head Lean Man First Nation
- Between May 2018 and January 2019, the Government of Canada and nine First Nations in Treaty #4 and Treaty #6 negotiated settlements to resolve the Treaty Annuity Rebellion Claims.
- The basis of the claims is that Canada unlawfully withheld treaty annuity payments from the First Nations during the Northwest Rebellion period between 1885 and 1888.
- The settlements were successfully settled with the following First Nations: Poundmaker Cree Nation; Sweetgrass First Nation; Thunderchild First Nation; One Arrow First Nation; Mosquito, Grizzly Bear’s Head, Lean Man First Nation; Little Pine First Nation; Chakastapasyn Sector of James Smith First Nation; Onion Lake Cree Nation and; Red Pheasant Cree Nation.
- In addition to the negotiated settlements, the Beardy’s and Okemasis Cree Nation settled a Treaty Annuity Rebellion claim with the Government of Canada through the Specific Claims Tribunal process in 2017.
For more information, media may contact:
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada