Blog Entry

"Oral Promises/Broken Promises" Shows Alternative Interpretation of Ontario's Treaty 9

This video by MiningWatch Canada questions the jurisdiction of the Ontario provincial government over the traditional territories of northern Ontario's First Nations and the government's right to unilaterally grant access to the resources within these territories to mining companies or other industries.

First Nations signed a number of treaties with the government between 1850 and 1906 (with some communities signing onto the treaties as late as 1930). The interpretation of these treaties by governments and industries holds that the First Nations signatories surrendered their control over these lands. While most of the written treaties guarantee the right of the First Nations to continue to use the land, they include a provision for the government to take that right away for development as it sees fit. This conflicts with the oral traditions of many First Nations who state that the treaties were about sharing the land, not surrendering it, and that assurances were given that their continued access would not interfered with.

Historical evidence has now emerged that supports the oral traditions of the First Nations in Treaty 9. This could have a profound effect on the extent of exclusive jurisdiction that the Ontario government claims over most of northern Ontario.

This video shows evidence presented by lawyer Murray Klippenstein at a November 2010 meeting of the Ontario Mining Action Network (OMAN), hosted by MiningWatch Canada and the Canary Research Institute in Thunder Bay.

Links to more information about Treaty 9

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN)

Wataway News Feb 17, 2011

John Long's 2010 book, Treaty 9: Making the Agreement to Share the Land in Far Northern Ontario in 1905

Ontario Archives virtual exhibit on Treaty 9