Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation settles nearly-150-year-old flooding dispute
Dispute dates back to 1873 when dam built at the outlet of Lac des Mille Lacs
The federal and Ontario governments have reached a settlement with the Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation in northwestern Ontario that will see the First Nation receive about $77 million in compensation for the historical flooding of their land.
According to a written release from the province, the negotiated agreement stems from the construction of a dam at the outlet of Lac des Mille Lacs in 1873, which caused the flooding.
The construction was done without compensation at the time or the community's consent, the province said, adding that the three parties agreed to the settlement in May.
The release quoted the community's chief Judy Maunula, who uses her Ojibway name, Whitecloud, in her role as chief, as saying that "this settlement is not only about bringing closure and healing for our community, it is also about new beginnings and opportunities to mutually work together with Canada and Ontario as respected partners."
According to the First Nation's website, the community is redeveloping the affected land after "decades of flooding and the forced abandonment," of the territory.
"Now, Lac des Mille Lacs community members can return to live on their historic reserve lands, creating new opportunities for residents," David Zimmer, Ontario's Indigenous relations minister, was quoted as saying.
The First Nation is located about 130 kilometres west of Thunder Bay.