The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.
MOOSE FACTORY – Mushkegowuk First Nations are hosting a three-day conference this week to discuss the future of Treaty No. 9. This comes on the heels of a court challenge that has been launched by Mushkegowuk council earlier this month.
The dispute is over Aboriginal land rights and traplines in the Cochrane area where there has been increased mining activity. Mushkegowuk is using as legal leverage a 108-year-old diary that belonged to Daniel MacMartin, the Ontario treaty commissioner who negotiated Treaty No. 9 in 1905.
Much fanfare was made by Mushkegowuk when the diary was discovered a couple of years ago. It was felt MacMartin’s diary reaffirms the view that Aboriginal leaders were duped into signing a written treaty which they did not fully understand.
“When my grandfather signed the treaty in Fort Albany in 1905, the terms as discussed and orally agreed to, were very clear,” said Grand Chief Stan Louttit. “It was a sacred oral agreement about living together and sharing the land.
“The Omushkego (people of Mushkegowuk) never surrendered the land or the natural resources but were told their rights would be protected.”
Louttit said the “ambiguity of the treaty” lies in the fact the text was written in English and was never fully translated for the Cree-speaking First Nations.
Much of the discussion at this week’s conference in Moose Factory, will focus on one aspect of the treaty in particular.
Louttit said it is the clause in the English text giving the government the right to “take up” land as it desires.
The diary of the Ontario treaty commissioner confirms this clause was never explained to the First Nations, said Louttit.
Murray Kippenstein, the legal representative for Mushkegowuk, suggested to The Daily Press in a previous interview that government officials who negotiated Treaty No. 9 likely did not expect First Nations to still exist 100 years later.
In addition to MacMartin, the key government officials involved in the negotiations included Duncan Campbell Scott.
For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.timminspress.com/2013/07/28/old-diary-used-as-leverage-in-court-challenge