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ONTARIO: Canada decides against appealing landmark annuities case, chief says

The provincial deadline to decide is today
Dean Sayers Justin Trudeau date uncertain
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Batchewana Chief Dean Sayers. Facebook photo

The Canadian government has decided against appealing last month's Superior Court ruling that 21 Anishinabek nations were short-changed on annuity payments for more than a century, Batchewana First Nation Chief Dean Sayers said Saturday.

The Dec. 21 decision affects both the federal and Ontario governments, but Sayers said the province's intentions are so far unknown.

"Ontario has until Jan. 21 to appeal," Sayers said in a social media post.

"We have communicated extensively with Ontario. Hopefully they won’t appeal. Commendations to our litigation team and our leadership council’s support," the chief said.

Signed in 1850, the Robinson Huron Treaty covers about 92,500 square kilometres along the north shore of Lake Huron, extending from Batchawana Bay on Lake Superior to Kirkland Lake, North Bay and Mattawa, as far south as Penetanguishene.

Since 1874, treaty beneficiaries have collected $4 a person each year, an amount that has never increased.

Last month's decision found that the treaty was never intended to be a one-time transaction.

The ruling is expected to result in massive increases in annuity payments, based on wealth generated by natural resources in lands ceded to the Crown.

The following are affected Robinson Huron First Nations:

  • Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation
  • Batchewana First Nation of Ojibways
  • Dokis First Nation
  • Garden River First Nation
  • Henvey Inlet First Nation
  • Magnetawan First Nation
  • Mississauga First Nation
  • Nipissing First Nation
  • Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation
  • Serpent River First Nation
  • Shawanaga First Nation
  • Sheshegwaning First Nation
  • Thessalon First Nation
  • Wahnapitae First Nation
  • Wasauksing First Nation
  • Whitefish River First Nation
  • Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation
  • M’Chigeeng First Nation
  • Sheguiandah First Nation
  • Zhiibaahaasing First Nation
  • Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve No. 26.