For First Nations’ Community
A land dispute that predates Canada as a nation has been resolved
Now, that land dispute is over with a $71 million settlement.
The money will be divided between Curve Lake, Hiawatha, and Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nations communities.
“It is great news, it’s been a long time,” says Chief Sandra Moore of Hiawatha First Nation.
She says the three First Nations communities have a funding formula for splitting up the settlement, which works out to about $19 million for Hiawatha.
“I think it means opportunity that we haven’t seen in the past,” she states.
While the money has not yet been allocated by the community, which will do some strategic planning, she says some priorities are safe drinking water, a community gathering space, and a fire hall.
“This is an opportunity we’ve never had, and so the community needs to be part of the process going forward,” she says.
She says there are many things needed in the community, including funding for housing.
After such a long process, she says the settlement was a shock when the government initially presented it back in December.
At that point, the communities had to meet some requirements before they were able to ratify the agreement on March 27.
“We’re now at a really monumental moment in our history,” she says. “So hopefully this will lead us to a better life.”
According to an explanation in a public notice from Curve Lake, the issue began in 1818 with the Treaty of Newcastle where land along Lake Ontario, Lake Simcoe, and the Trent River were surrendered to the Crown. The First Nations took the position that only the mainland areas were surrendered, not the islands.
When construction of the Trent Severn Waterway began in 1836, these islands began to flood. Remaining islands were surrendered to the Crown in 1856 with money from sales to private owners going back to the First Nations, however no compensation was paid for the flooded lands.
A land claim was filed in 1988 through the Mississauga Tribal Treaty Council, which was accepted for negotiations in 2004.
The land claim is based on the appraised values of the flooded land during the three years flooding occurred (1837, 1856, and 1880).
According to a press release from the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, the flooding affected about 12,000 acres of islands land.
Everyone one else who owned land (that was affected by the flooding beginning in 1836) was compensated. The First Nations were not. Had they been compensated with the others, there would have been nothing to claim.
Article from MyKawartha
Website for Hiawatha First Nation