Treaty Day in Marten Falls: A Time for Government To Fully Honour Obligations

Marten Falls Chief Bruce Achneepineskum welcomes the investment
Marten Falls Chief Bruce Achneepineskum

MARTEN FALLS – Treaty Day is the day when Canada fulfills one of its obligations under the Treaty to pay each First Nation member of Treaty 9 (1905) and adhesions to Treaty 9 (1929) $4.00. Every year, without fail, Canada brings its representative and box of loonies and toonies, under the guard of the RCMP, to the First Nations to honour this treaty obligation. This year, however, there was no ceremonial guard to honour our Treaty Day.

Today, August 14, 2023, is Treaty Day in Marten Falls First Nation, and we look towards the Government of Canada to recognize that it must uphold the honour of the Crown, which requires the federal government and its departments, agencies, and officials to act with honour, integrity, good faith, and fairness in all of its dealings with Indigenous peoples.

Our First Nation’s rivers, the Ogoki River and the mighty Albany River, were diverted in 1951 and 1952 to provide electricity and economic benefits to the southern parts of the province.

The failure of the duty and the honour of the Crown to protect our interests has changed our lives forever.

These rivers were our livelihood and transportation lifelines. It also denied us the economic benefits due to us.

Today, the Albany River in our community is so low that one can walk across it.

The need for a new subdivision, which is desperately needed to accommodate our growing First Nation, is impeded by slow infrastructure and planning by both the federal and provincial governments.

Our schoolyard and recreation area have been set aside for the proposed and sorely needed Multi-Purpose Building, which will hold the grocery store that our community needs.

Ontario is a signatory to the Treaty and also has an obligation to uphold the duty and honour of the Crown.

Both Canada and Ontario must understand that First Nations require an economy, wealth creation, and revenue opportunities as a recognized form of government.

Any consideration of development in the Ring of Fire, which lies within our traditional area, requires recognition of the revenue potential for Marten Falls First Nation, together with adequate consultation and accommodation.

Capacity funding, along with economic development projects and limited annual funding application processes, are not adequate to address the high cost of living in the north and provide for the future of our First Nation.

We look forward to a Treaty Day in which we can celebrate that both Canada and Ontario, as signatories of Treaty 9, have upheld the Duty and Honour of the Crown.

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