First Nations take governments to court over $4 annual benefit

A group of First Nations is taking the federal and Ontario governments to court, arguing that a $4-per-year annuity they receive is inadequate.

Chiefs from the Robinson-Huron Treaty territory say last increase to annuity was in 1874

Alan Corbiere, a historian with Mchigeeng First Nation, Chief Dean Sayers of Batchewana First Nation, and David Nahwegahbow, legal Counsel, speak at a press conference in Sault Ste. Marie. The chiefs from the Robinson-Huron Treaty territory say that they are filing their lawsuit today over what they call "the long-standing failure of the Crown" to raise the annuities under the treaty signed in 1850. (Duke Peltier)

A group of First Nations is taking the federal and Ontario governments to court, arguing that a $4-per-year annuity they receive is inadequate.

The chiefs from the Robinson-Huron Treaty territory say in a news release that they are filing their lawsuit today over what they call "the long-standing failure of the Crown" to raise the annuities under the treaty signed in 1850.

They say the Anishnabek agreed under the treaty to share their lands and resources with newcomers and in return the Crown would pay annuities that were supposed to increase over time.

But, they say, the last increase was in 1874 and they still receive just $4 per year.

Anishnabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee says the annuity was meant to provide economic benefits for his people and this is not what his ancestors intended.

Madahbee says there are 30,000 beneficiaries to the Robinson-Huron Treaty in 21 First Nations communities and their territory has generated "vast amounts of revenues" from forestry, mining and other resource development.

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