An on-going court case could put a little more money in the pocket of band members in 21 Anishinabek First Nations, something the federal government is fighting.
They are collectively suing the Crown in Ontario Superior Court, saying their $4 annuity is a broken treaty promise.
Indigenous people around Lake Huron signed the Robinson Huron Treaty in 1850. One of its stipulations was a dollar a year annuity.
However, the treaty had a provision that if Crown revenues went up so would the annuity. And it did in 1874 when it was raised to $4. But that was the last increase.
“The Crown appears to have the impression that there’s a limitation on the annuity, that $4 is the maximum,” said Mike Restoule, chair of the Robinson Huron Litigation Fund.
“We took a different interpretation of it. Because the treaty says the annuity would be increased.”
In 2014, the matter was taken to court. And since last fall, Justice Patricia Hennessy has heard witnesses and elders argue for the Anishinabek, who want the annuity increased substantially.
Starting this week the government will be presenting their case as to why the annuity should remain the same. Of note all the hearings are being livestreamed.
Another big court hearing happens this Monday at the Supreme Court of Canada.
The nine justices will hear a case brought forward by the Misikew Cree Nation from northern Alberta.
It wants the court to rule that the Misikew should be consulted before legislation that affects their treaty rights is passed into law.
“Law making is such a critical and important strategic decision making tool by the government,” explained Karey Brooks, lawyer for the Misikew. “That has the potential to adversely affect a broad number of First Nations in very significant ways.”
As well, host Todd Lamirande spoke to Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox about yesterday’s announcement by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.
He announced $291 million over the next five years in funding for Indigenous police services.
The Nishnawbe Aski police service is the largest in Canada and serves 35 communities.
Fox is happy with the announcement, indicating the first thing to be done will be to update equipment such as cars and radios.
Fox also commented on NAN’s creating of a website to get people to sign a petition asking for the resignation of Senator Lynn Beyak.
“Everything she’s been talking about, the racism and the bigotry, is not good for our people, it’s not good for the city of Dryden.”