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Robinson-Huron Treaty lawsuit to commence in Thunder Bay

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Could have “major impacts” on Canada’s approach to treaty implementation.

Court action against Canada and Ontario, brought by representatives of the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850, is set to begin with hearings on Monday, Sept. 25 in Thunder Bay.

The action was brought by First Nations on Sept. 9, 2014 for the governments’ “failure to implement the terms of the 1850 treaty, specifically the annuity augmentation.”

Chiefs believe the result of this lawsuit could have “major impacts” on Canada’s approach to treaty implementation.

The “chiefs and principle men” of the Ojibways of Lake Huron entered into treaty with the British Crown on Sept. 9, 1850. The treaty committed the Crown to provide treaty annuities, including the augmentation of annuities as the lands produced revenue that would support an increase in the annuities without incurring loss, a statement reads.

“The Robinson-Huron Treaty recognizes the political and economic relationship between the First Nations signatories and the Crown, including the sharing of revenues of any resource development on the lands involved in the treaty, which covers about 35,700 square miles of territory primarily in northeastern Ontario.”

This is a first phase of the court action which will run from Monday until March 29, 2018, and will move from Thunder Bay to Manitoulin Island, Garden River First Nation and Sudbury, Ont. 

The First Nations representatives assert the Crown has not acted honorably in maintaining its promises as set out in the treaty, reads the press statement, and the Robinson-Huron Treaty chiefs, successors of the original signatories, “are acting on their responsibility to ensure that the terms of the Treaty are honoured.”

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