The Caldwell First Nation has ratified a land claim settlement, providing $105-million to set up a new reserve and to compensate band members whose forebears gave up land at Point Pelee more than 200 years ago.
Just four of the band's 196 members who cast ratification ballots on the weekend voted against the compensation and settlement agreement.
The band's lawyer, Brian Daly, said it will take time to set-up a reserve somewhere in southern Essex County: "It's going to be somewhere in the areas of Kingsville, Essex, and Leamington. Probably more anchored in Leamington. But the purchase of the land will happen over a period of years."
Daly said the compensation includes damages for the loss of traditional lands going back more than 200 years.
According to the federal Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, the Caldwell First Nation (also known as the Chippewas of Point Pelee) lived as a distinct First Nation in the Point Pelee area.
In May 1790, the Ottawa, Chippewa, Pottawatomi and Huron surrendered a large tract of land in southwestern Ontario, including Point Pelee. But the Caldwell First Nation did not sign or benefit from the treaty.
The Caldwell First Nation served as allies of the British during the War of 1812 and members of the band were promised reserve land at Point Pelee. Some members of the Caldwell First Nation continued to occupy Point Pelee until the late 1850s but residents were gradually forced to leave Point Pelee due to encroachment by settlers.
Daly said 50 per cent of the compensation package is expected to be paid by Canada within 45 days of the federal government signing the agreement, with the remainder being paid next year.