Frequently Asked Questions - Old Burial Ground Specific Claim Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg
- What is the Old Burial Ground claim all about?
This specific claim is based on allegations that the Old Burial Ground lands were illegally alienated from the Kitigan Zibi Indian Reserve following a surrender for lease in 1889 and the issuance of letters patent around 1946.
- Why negotiate if the Old Burial Ground was subject to a surrender in 1889?
The surrender was only for a lease whereby property rights are given for a specific term, such as rental for 10-year period. This surrender did not extinguish Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg's interests in the lands because it would have required an absolute surrender, granted by the First Nation through a referendum of its eligible voters.
- What are the advantages of settling this claim?
The settlement of this claim will result in Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg and the Government of Canada resolving a long outstanding grievance through successful negotiations rather than through a court action.
This resolution recognizes that the lands were used as a burial ground for Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg and Maniwaki and a park will be constructed to commemorate the shared history of these communities.
- Are there still bodies buried in the Old Burial Ground?
While a review of historical documents suggests it is possible that there are still human remains on the Old Burial Ground lands, no excavation has been done to verify this possibility, nor is any planned.
- Was the Old Burial Ground used exclusively by the First Nation?
Although the Old Burial Ground was located on reserve lands, it was used by the populations of both KZA and Maniwaki, and served the Oblates Fathers Parish. The settlement agreement recognizes this past use by proposing the construction of a commemorative park on these lands.
- Where are the claim lands located? How many acres are involved?
The Old Burial Ground lands are located along the Gatineau River, in downtown Maniwaki, across the street from the Château Logue Hotel and cover approximately 1.39 acres or 5,630 m². About half of the lands are covered by the Highway 107 right-of-way, while the remainder have been purchased from a third party.
- What is the difference between “confirmation of reserve status” and “additions to reserve”?
A “confirmation of reserve status” is completed on reserve lands that may not have been used as reserve lands for a period of time but were never removed from the First Nation's land base. It serves to provide certainty as to their location and status. An “addition to the reserve” occurs when a First Nation wishes to have reserve status granted to lands that are recently acquired and that do not already have reserve status.
- Who will be building and maintaining the park?
Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg's intention is to establish and maintain a commemorative park on the Old Burial Ground in order to recognize the sanctity of the lands and to ensure there will be no development or exploitation of these lands in the future. Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg will therefore be responsible for the building and maintenance of the commemorative park.
- Will the land be for the exclusive use of KZA members or open to the public?
The commemorative park will be for the enjoyment of both the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg and the citizens of Maniwaki, and will be open to all. It will serve as a reminder of the close ties between both communities and to honour the sacred nature of the lands.
- How will provincial Highway 107 be dealt with? Is the Government of Quebec involved?
Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg is currently negotiating a permit with the Government of Quebec for the continued use of the lands for a highway, for so long as it is required for that purpose.
- Will Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg members get to vote on this claim? When will ratification take place?
A vote will not be required for ratification. Copies of the settlement agreement were mailed out to members of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg and they will be consulted on the proposed settlement of this claim during a meeting to be held on November 4th, 2006. The settlement will subsequently be ratified by Band Council Resolution by duly elected representatives of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation.
- How many specific claims have been submitted by Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg? Are there more to be submitted?
Currently, Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg has twenty-nine specific claims in the process, including two that are in negotiations. Once Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg has completed all its research, the First Nation may have a total of thirty-four claims.
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