Manitoba

Winnipeg urban treaty payments delayed by Occupy INAC, Indigenous Affairs says

First Nations people looking to pick up their annual treaty payment in Winnipeg at The Forks will have to wait.

Traditional annuity payments of $5 are usually handed out in mid-June

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada says urban treaty payments are delayed because of the INAC office occupation. (Dave Gaudet/CBC)

First Nations people looking to pick up their annual treaty payment in Winnipeg at the Forks will have to wait.

The treaty payments have been delayed as a result of protesters occupying the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada office in downtown Winnipeg, the department says.

The traditional annuity payments of $5 are usually handed out in mid-June for two weeks to people who are members of a Treaty First Nation.

In April, protesters occupied the INAC office in Winnipeg to stand in solidarity with the Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario, which declared a state of emergency after multiple suicide attempts.

Other INAC offices across the country were also occupied, but most occupations ended within a few days.

The protesters in Winnipeg left the building on May 26 and were not allowed to re-enter. The office remained closed "out of concern for the safety of staff and the public," INAC said. 

"The office was closed in mid-April as the result of an occupation by OccupyINACWinnipeg," an INAC representative said in an emailed statement. "Regional staff have continued working from remote locations to deliver essential services."

INAC said the treaty payment in First Nations communities will be delivered as normal, but the payments in Winnipeg are postponed.

INAC said further details will be available when a new date is confirmed.

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