Indigenous Communities Seek Fairness in Treaty Payments

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In July of 1764 near what the Anishinabek called “the crooked place” – Niagara Falls – Sir William Johnson, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for British North America, met with some 2500 Chiefs and headmen to create an alliance that would be key to they creation of Canada. – illustration by Charles Hebert
In July of 1764 near what the Anishinabek called “the crooked place” – Niagara Falls – Sir William Johnson, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for British North America, met with some 2500 Chiefs and headmen to create an alliance that would be key to they creation of Canada. – illustration by Charles Hebert

SUDBURY – Indigenous communities in Ontario are in court seeking billions of dollars in compensation for the small annual payments they have received for ceding an area the size of France for almost 150 years. While the communities claim that they are owed a large sum, the Ontario government claims that they are only owed $34 million, or nothing at all.

This week, an unprecedented court hearing in Sudbury, Ontario was held in order to determine the amount of money the Crown owes for breaking a treaty promise.

A lawyer representing several Anishinaabe communities, with a collective population of 15,000 people, argued that they are owed at least $8 billion, and possibly as much as $100 billion.

The hearing is both a symbolic and a practical victory for the Indigenous communities, as they attempt to make the government accountable for the promises made to them, and to reclaim what is rightfully theirs.

It remains to be seen if justice will be served and the Crown will be held responsible for its past wrongdoings.

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