Negotiations on the Coldwater-Narrows Claim Winter 2005

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INTRODUCTION

This is the second in a series of newsletters in which the negotiators for Canada and the Chippewa Tri-Council (CTC) will provide up-to-date information to First Nation members, neighbouring communities and other interested parties about the ongoing negotiations to resolve the First Nations' claim. The CTC's claim stems from historical events that took place over one hundred and sixty years ago in relation to a strip of land known as the Coldwater-Narrows reserve. Simply put, the CTC claims that the 1836 surrender of the reserve was invalid because it was conducted improperly and that the “surrendered” land was sold below its value and in an untimely fashion. Canada and the CTC are committed to resolving this claim through a co-operative negotiation process rather than through the courts. Negotiated agreements deal with longstanding issues in a manner that is mutually acceptable and which will result in a fair and just settlement.

MESSAGE FROM THE CHIEFS

Our work on this claim is a journey into the far distant past of our people. Over the past year and a half, we have explored the migration of our ancestors from Coldwater to the three distinct communities we now inhabit. The journey is one of hope and healing as we continue to work towards a fair and just settlement.

While there is much work to be done, above all the focus remains on the ambitious work plan. Each of our communities are included in this process through community meetings, ability to attend negotiation sessions held monthly, newsletters and informal updates. As well, community members are invited to contact your respective Chief and Council at any time. Miigwetch.

CHIEF WILLIAM MCCUE, Georgina Island First Nation
CHIEF VALERIE MONAGUE, Beausoleil First Nation
CHIEF SHARON STINSON HENRY, Mnjikaning (Rama) First Nation

Aerial photos of part of the study area Source: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Copyright: 2004 Queen's printer Ontario

NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE

A mapping project was completed to more clearly identify the study area. This involved reviewing historical documentation and matching original survey information (see the historical survey map opposite) with modern day mapping. Aerial photos of the study area were also acquired as part of this project. NOTE: The mapping project and the land appraisals are part of a data gathering exercise to help the negotiators understand the impact that the loss of the Coldwater-Narrows reserve had on the CTC First Nations. The ownership of the claim lands is not at issue in this process. What is at issue is providing the First Nations with fair and just compensation for this longstanding claim.

 Land appraisals were then initiated within the study area. Before these appraisals could get underway, there was a lot of planning to do and much discussion around technical issues. The parties had to reach agreement on the scope of the work to be undertaken and the process that would be followed. Following the appropriate contracting procedures, two independent firms were hired to conduct this research within the study area. As part of the planning process, we also held several meetings with the consultants to ensure that there was a clear understanding of the work that they had been retained to undertake.

Independent consultants were also retained to provide advice to the appraisers on forestry and mineral issues.

Discussion and analysis continues on “loss of use” models which could be utilized in the negotiation process. A technical working group with representatives from both negotiating teams was struck to help facilitate discussions on these issues. Note: During specific claims negotiations, land appraisals are often done to determine the value of any lands that were lost as a result of a claim; in addition, “loss of use” studies are often undertaken to help assess the economic losses incurred by a First Nation as a result of the historical events that gave rise to the claim. The parties are looking at the usual practices for loss of use and considering whether there is an innovative approach that can be taken for this longstanding claim.

The work plan was also reviewed and updated to guide the negotiation teams in their discussions through to the end of March of 2005.

JUST THE FACTS

In keeping with the Specific Claims Policy, third party interests will be taken into account during the negotiations. Private property will not be expropriated to reach a settlement of this claim and no third parties will be dispossessed through this process. Any land purchased as a result of a settlement would be on a willing-seller/willing-buyer basis.

Any addition to reserve sought by the First Nations as a result of a settlement would be subject to the terms of Canada's Additions to Reserves Policy, which requires First Nations to address all third party access and property issues and to consult with affected municipalities and the province.

Canada and the First Nations have established and will maintain an open process for information sharing with First Nation members and other interested parties through vehicles such as newsletters, briefings, media releases and community information sessions.

Specific claims settlements can open up viable economic opportunities that can contribute to the future development of First Nation communities and local economies.

Negotiation Process Checklist


SURVEY OVERLAY: COLDWATER Line (here in blue) as drawn on the original of the 1833 William Hawkins Survey of Coldwater Reserve (this document a scan of the survey)

Survey Overlay: Coldwater


REPRODUCTION OF A SURVEY OF THE COLDWATER-NARROWS RESERVE THAT WAS CONDUCTED IN 1833. OF RECORD IN THE OFFICE OF THE SURVEYOR GENERAL MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES PETERBOROUGH, ONTARIO, CANADA COPYRIGHT QUEEN'S PRINTER FOR ONTARIO, 2004


MESSAGE FROM CHIEF FEDERAL NEGOTIATOR, CHARLES HARNICK

As the negotiation update section of this newsletter explains in greater detail, our focus over the past year has been the launch of a data gathering exercise that will ultimately help us begin our discussions on compensation. Land appraisals are underway and we are focusing our energies on appropriate tools for determining the economic losses to the First Nations resulting from lost opportunity to use the land. Given our recent progress and our solid working relationship, I am confident we can sustain this momentum as we continue to work together toward a fair and final settlement of this claim.

I would like to extend a special thanks to the local MPs, MPPs and municipal officials for meeting with Ian Johnson and me. We hope that these face-to-face progress reports on the negotiations and our plans for information sharing assist you in addressing any questions that you might receive from your constituents. Thank you once again for your continued support of this process.

Representatives of Canada's negotiation team during a negotiation session held at Mnjikaning in March 2004 (Left to right: Nicole Bauman, Communications; Laurie Klee, Legal Counsel;  Charles Harnick, Chief Federal Negotiator; Bev Lajoie, Assistant Negotiator; and James Moxon, Claims Analyst).

Representatives of Canada's negotiation team during a negotiation session held at Mnjikaning in March 2004 (Left to right: Nicole Bauman, Communications; Laurie Klee, Legal Counsel; Charles Harnick, Chief Federal Negotiator; Bev Lajoie, Assistant Negotiator; and James Moxon, Claims Analyst).

A MESSAGE FROM THE CHIEF NEGOTIATOR FOR THE CHIPPEWA TRI-COUNCIL, DR. IAN JOHNSON

While the land appraisers are busy collecting the information necessary for them to provide an appraised value of the lands covered by the claim, Canada and the Tri-Council have been working hard to find the best way to evaluate the loss of economic opportunity suffered by the First Nations over the 168 years since the taking of the land. Loss of economic opportunity is never an easy matter to determine and in this case, with so much time passed, the difficulties are compounded. What might have happened on the land if it had remained reserve land? What opportunities might there have been? What obstacles may have caused problems? How would the Indian Act as it existed over time have hindered development? These are all important questions but are very difficult to answer.

We are taking great pains to ensure that we find the best method of measuring loss of economic opportunity because this measurement will contribute significantly to the eventual claim settlement.

DID YOU KNOW?

The CTC First Nations (formerly known as the Chippewas of Lakes Huron and Simcoe) have a historical connection to the recently restored Grist Mill that stands near the river at Coldwater, Ontario. When the Grist Mill first started grinding grain in 1834, it was part of the Coldwater-Narrows reserve, which had been established four years earlier by the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada in an attempt to create a self-sustaining farming community for the Chippewas of Lakes Huron and Simcoe. For more information about the historical events surrounding the First Nations' claim, see the fact sheet available on the Internet.

YOUTH PERSPECTIVE

BY: NIKI MONAGUE, Beausoleil First Nation

Niki is a high school student who lives in Beausoleil. She observed some of the negotiating sessions and has offered this insight into her perspective on the benefits that a future settlement of the claim would bring to her community:

When asked the question "What would you do with a million dollars?", the youth of Christian Island responded with:

  • help pay for the new up and coming community centre.
  • purchase brand new equipment [ie. sports, fitness for new community centre]
  • divide it per family
  • go on community trips
  • purchase new school equipment [ie. books, science equipment, phys-ed]
  • use it to improve some of the older houses on the island [ie. bad windows, heaters, sinks, bathrooms, etc]
  • investing

These ideas aren't too bad if I do say so myself, but I would go with the investing it for the future. At our last social meeting with the Chief of Beausoleil (Christian Island) First Nation, Ms. Valerie Monague brought up a very important point.

We are the leaders of the future and the decisions that we make will take affect on our future. So I would have to say investing some of the money is a great idea when thinking ahead of time. Instead of being in debt, we'll have that to look upon. Plus, the longer we invest the more money we'll be making, which is why it's a great idea.

Keeping in mind that we are just youth, we don't have that much knowledge of the Coldwater Claim. That doesn't mean that we're not interested. When I brought the subject up at school with the rest of the youth in my age-group or older, some of them didn't even know what the Coldwater claim was. So I filled them in. They thought it was a good idea that our community was getting more out of the settlement and you could see the inner pride coming out of them.

We appreciate Niki's participation in this newsletter and look forward to contributions from community members in Georgina and Mnjikaning in future editions.

Members of the negotiation teams for both parties and the Indian Claims Commission (ICC) stand for the opening prayer at a spring negotiation session in Georgina. Every session begins with a prayer recited by the Chief, an elder - or in this special case, by a youth group from the host community. The sessions are chaired by the ICC, which is also assisting the parties by co-ordinating the study process.

Members of the negotiation teams for both parties and the Indian Claims Commission (ICC) stand for the opening prayer at a spring negotiation session in Georgina. Every session begins with a prayer recited by the Chief, an elder - or in this special case, by a youth group from the host community. The sessions are chaired by the ICC, which is also assisting the parties by co-ordinating the study process.

COMMUNICATIONS SIDEBAR

Since the parties first announced the start of these negotiations in August of 2002, we have been working hard to keep you up-to-date on progress. To help us make our newsletter more informative, tell us what you would like to know about the claim and/or the negotiations by sending your questions/ suggestions to us at:

baumanN@ainc-inac.gc.ca     or
cathy.edney@mnjikaning.ca.

Or you could reach us by phone at:

(819) 997-5075     or
(705) 325-3611 ext. 1416.

We'll do our best to incorporate your feedback in our future editions. If you are interested in placing your name on a list for future mailings, please contact one of us at the numbers listed above.

COMMUNITY PROFILES

The Chippewa Tri-Council represents three First Nations: the Chippewas of Georgina Island, the Chippewas of Mnjikaning (Rama) and the Beausoleil First Nation.


Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation

 POPULATION: 649 (21% living on reserve and 79% off reserve).

SPOKEN LANGUAGES: English/Ojibway.

GOVERNMENT: The band council is composed of a Chief and 4 Councillors.

LOCATION: Georgina Island, Snake Island and Fox Island plus a small area of land at Virginia Beach, on the mainland opposite Georgina Island. The islands lie approximately 2 kilometres (km) off the southern shore of Lake Simcoe.


Chippewas of Mnjikaning (Rama) First Nation

 POPULATION: 1440 (46% on reserve and 54% living off reserve).

SPOKEN LANGUAGES: English/Ojibway.

GOVERNMENT: The band council is composed of a Chief and 6 Councillors.

LOCATION: 5 km northeast of Orillia, Ontario on the east shore of Lake Couchiching.


Beausoleil First Nation

 POPULATION: 1692 (40% on reserve and 60% off reserve).

SPOKEN LANGUAGES: English/Ojibway.

GOVERNMENT: The band council is composed of a Chief and 10 Councillors.

LOCATION: Christian Island, Hope Island and Beckwith Island plus several tiny islands close to the shores of the larger islands and 16 acres located on the mainland at Cedar Point. These islands are located in southern Georgian Bay off Lake Huron in Ontario, Canada.


Councillor Brett Mooney, Georgina Island First Nation and Chief Valerie Monague, Beausoleil First Nation during a negotiation session held this summer at Beausoleil.Watch for more photos of members from the CTC and Canada's Negotiating teams in future editions!

Councillor Brett Mooney, Georgina Island First Nation and Chief Valerie Monague, Beausoleil First Nation during a negotiation session held this summer at Beausoleil. Watch for more photos of members from the CTC and Canada's Negotiating teams in future editions!

En route to a winter 2004 session at Beausoleil. (Left to Right: Dr. Carl Beal, consultant for the CTC and Chief Sharon Stinson Henry, Chippewas of Mnjikaning First Nation; Ian Johnson, CTC Chief Negotiator; and Cathy Edney, Communications.) That day, both negotiation teams were ferried across the ice by snowmobile to attend.

En route to a winter 2004 session at Beausoleil. (Left to Right: Dr. Carl Beal, consultant for the CTC and Chief Sharon Stinson Henry, Chippewas of Mnjikaning First Nation; Ian Johnson, CTC Chief Negotiator; and Cathy Edney, Communications.) That day, both negotiation teams were ferried across the ice by snowmobile to attend.

NEXT STEPS

Review the preliminary information gathered by the forestry and mining consultants and the land appraisers.

Continue discussion on other tools for determining financial compensation (eg. Loss of use).

Newsletters and Fact Sheets can be accessed on the internet at:

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

 CTC First Nations
Chief Sharon Stinson Henry,
Mnjikaning First Nation
(705) 325-3611

Chief Valerie Monague,
Beausoleil First Nation
(705) 247-2051

Chief William McCue,
Georgina Island First Nation
(705) 437-1337

Dr. Ian V.B. Johnson,
Chippewa Tri-Council Negotiator
(705) 734-2000

MEDIA, PLEASE CALL:
Cathy Edney
(705) 325-3611 ext. 1416

Canada
Charles Harnick, Chief Federal Negotiator
(416) 364-4430
Bev Lajoie, Portfolio Manager Specific Claims Branch, INAC
(819) 953-4622

MEDIA, PLEASE CALL:
Diane Laursen
(819) 994-2044