Backgrounder - Metepenagiag Mi'kmaq Nation 1895 Surrender Specific claim

The Metepenagiag Mi'kmaq Nation (formerly known as the Red Bank First Nation) is located approximately 25 km from Newcastle, New Brunswick and it has a population of 659 people. The Metepenagiag Mi'kmaq Nation has four reserves: Red Bank Indian reserves # 4 and # 7, Indian Point and Big Hole Track.

The Metepenagiag Mi'kmaq Nation submitted the 1895 Surrender specific claim in 1985 under Canada's Specific Claims Policy.

This specific claim was accepted for negotiations under the Specific Claims Policy on September 14, 2005, on the basis that Canada has a lawful obligation due to an invalid surrender. This claim is based on the allegation that the surrender taken in 1895 of a portion of Metepenagiag is invalid. The claim lands cover a surface area of approximately 3,100 acres.

On October 17, 2013, a ratification vote was held by the Metepenagiag First Nation. Of those eligible to vote, 279 members (or 94% of those who voted) approved the settlement agreement.

Historical Background

In 1808, a New Brunswick Order-in-Council established the surface of the Red Bank Band at 10,000 acres. By the late 1830s, almost all the Red Bank lands, except for the village at Red Bank and the back wood lots, were occupied by settlers and squatters. The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (then called the Department of Indian Affairs) had minimal information on squatter occupation of Red Bank lands.

In the early 1890s, the Department of Indian Affairs was informed of the squatter occupation and decided to resolve the issue of squatters by securing a surrender of reserve lands upon which they resided. Surrendered lands were to be sold to squatters.

On June 6, 1895, Indian Agent Carter organized a surrender meeting in order to obtain the First Nation consent to the surrender.

Under the Specific Claims Policy, it was determined that the lands related to the 1895 Surrender were not validly taken.

Third-Party Interests

In accordance with the Specific Claims Policy, third-party interests will be protected during negotiations. Private property owners are never expropriated after a claim settlement. Should the Metepenagiag Mi'kmaq Nation decide to acquire replacement lands after the settlement of this specific claim, this will be done on a willing buyer/willing seller basis.