Wind Farm Ruling Empowers Fort William First Nation
FORT WILLIAM FIRST NATION – THUNDER BAY – NEWS –Fort William First Nation attended the Divisional Court in Toronto on Friday May 16, 2014 to defend against Horizon Wind’s request for an immediate approval of its proposed Big Thunder Wind Project.
FWFN also attended to oppose the Crown’s request to approve the Project before engaging in consultation with FWFN community members and other Treaty partners on full Big Thunder Wind Project details including the lease of the Treaty Lands and all Project approvals.
Justice Lederer commented early in the hearing that Horizon Wind and the Ministry of Environment should not be asking the Court to assess sufficiency of consultation when in dispute and that the “nation to nation” consultations should resolve matters between the parties.
The Divisional Court then determined without any need for oral submissions from FWFN to deny Horizon Wind and the MOE’s requests, and to award costs to FWFN.
Chief Georjann Morriseau Explains…
The MOE has issued correspondence to FWFN setting a new deadline for consultations of June 9, 2014.
FWFN states that the MOE still continues to refuse to consult on the full Big Thunder Wind Project and the lease of the Treaty Lands and other Ministry approvals with FWFN and other Treaty community members prior to approval.
The Robertson Superior Treaty requires consultation on a nation to nation level.
FWFN Invites Consultation
FWFN will again invite all responsible Crown Ministries to attend consultations with the FWFN community members in regard to the full Project details and the lease of their Treaty Lands and all Project approvals before issued, as required by the Robinson Superior Treaty and the Constitution of Canada.
FWFN will ask Minister Mauro to take responsibility for the Honour of the Crown and the Duty to Consult in regard to the lease of the Treaty Lands for which his Ministry is responsible.
The other responsible Ministries are the MOE, Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Federal Crown.
Failure Impacting Provincial Relations
FWFN strived to avoid turning to the courts for relief until it became apparent this winter that the Crown would not meet its responsibilities to consult with FWFN and other Robinson Superior Treaty community members on full Big Thunder Wind Project information before allowing the Big Thunder Wind Project to proceed for at least the next 45 years.
While FWFN hopes the Crown will take Justice Lederer’s words to heart and honour its prior Duty to Consult with the FWFN community (Robinson Superior Treaty Communities) on the Big Thunder Wind Project over its Treaty Lands, FWFN will maintain its legal proceedings for an injunction against the MOE and other Ministry approvals on June 6th in Thunder Bay. It will also maintain its Judicial Reviews of the earlier MOE decision to deem Horizon’s renewable energy application complete, the lease, related energy contracts and MNR approvals at a later date until it is assured that the Crown has the impact information from Treaty community members necessary to Protect Treaty Rights in all of its decisions.
Robertson Superior Treaty
THIS AGREEMENT, made and entered into on the seventh day of September, in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty, at Sault Ste. Marie, in the Province of Canada, between the Honorable WILLIAM BENJAMIN ROBINSON, of the one part, on behalf of HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN, and JOSEPH PEANDECHAT, JOHN IUINWAY, MISHE-MUCKQUA, TOTOMENCIE, Chiefs, and JACOB WARPELA, AHMUTCHIWAGABOU, MICHEL SHELAGESHICK, MANITSHAINSE, and CHIGINANS, principal men of the OJIBEWA Indians inhabiting the Northern Shore of Lake Superior, in the said Province of Canada, from Batchewana Bay to Pigeon River, at the western extremity of said Lake, and inland throughout that extent to the height of land which separates the territory covered by the charter of the Honorable the Hudson’s Bay Company from the said tract, and also the Islands in the said Lake within the boundaries of the British possessions therein, of the other part, witnesseth:
THAT for and in consideration of the sum of two thousand pounds of good and lawful money of Upper Canada, to them in hand paid, and for the further perpetual annuity of five hundred pounds, the same to be paid and delivered to the said Chiefs and their Tribes at a convenient season of each summer, not later than the first day of August at the Honorable the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Posts of Michipicoton and Fort William, they the said chiefs and principal men do freely, fully and voluntarily surrender, cede, grant and convey unto Her Majesty, Her heirs and successors forever, all their right, title and interest in the whole of the territory above described, save and except the reservations set forth in the schedule hereunto annexed, which reservations shall be held and occupied by the said Chiefs and their Tribes in common, for the purpose of residence and cultivation, and should the said Chiefs and their respective Tribes at any time desire to dispose of any mineral or other valuable productions upon the said reservations, the same will be at their request sold by order of the Superintendent General of the Indian Department for the time being, for their sole use and benefit, and to the best advantage.
And the said William Benjamin Robinson of the first part, on behalf of Her Majesty and the Government of this Province, hereby promises and agrees to make the payments as before mentioned; and further to allow the said chiefs and their tribes the full and free privilege to hunt over the territory now ceded by them, and to fish in the waters thereof as they have heretofore been in the habit of doing, saving and excepting only such portions of the said territory as may from time to time be sold or leased to individuals, or companies of individuals, and occupied by them with the consent of the Provincial Government. The parties of the second part further promise and agree that they will not sell, lease, or otherwise dispose of any portion of their reservations without the consent of the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs being first had and obtained; nor will they at any time hinder or prevent persons from exploring or searching for mineral or other valuable productions in any part of the territory hereby ceded to Her Majesty as before mentioned. The parties of the second part also agree that in case the Government of this Province should before the date of this agreement have sold, or bargained to sell, any mining locations or other property on the portions of the territory hereby reserved for their use and benefit, then and in that case such sale, or promise of sale, shall be forfeited, if the parties interested desire it, by the Government, and the amount accruing therefrom shall be paid to the tribe to whom the reservation belongs. The said William Benjamin Robinson on behalf of Her Majesty, who desires to deal liberally and justly with all Her subjects, further promises and agrees that in case the territory hereby ceded by the parties of the second part shall at any future period produce an amount which will enable the Government of this Province without incurring loss to increase the annuity hereby secured to them, then, and in that case, the same shall be augmented from time to time, provided that the amount paid to each individual shall not exceed the sum of one pound provincial currency in any one year, or such further sum as Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to order; and provided further that the number of Indians entitled to the benefit of this Treaty shall amount to two thirds of their present numbers (which is twelve hundred and forty) to entitle them to claim the full benefit thereof, and should their numbers at any future period not amount to two thirds of twelve hundred and forty, the annuity shall be diminished in proportion to their actual numbers.
Schedule of Reservations made by the above named subscribing Chiefs and
FIRST – Joseph Pean-de-chat and his Tribe, the reserve to commence about two miles from Fort William (inland), on the right bank of the River Kiminitiquia thence westerly six miles, parallel to the shores of the lake; thence northerly five miles; thence easterly to the right bank of the said river, so as not to interfere with any acquired rights of the Honorable Hudson’s Bay Company.
SECOND – Four miles square at Gros Cap, being a valley near the Honorable Hudson’s Bay Company’s post of Michipicoton, for Totominai and Tribe.
THIRD – Four miles square on Gull River, near Lake Nipigon, on both sides of said river, for the Chief Mishimuckqua and Tribe.