MOOSONEE – The Moose Cree First Nation says it has no intention of sharing its Aboriginal rights and title over a section of what it sees as its traditional territory with the Cree First Nations on the Quebec side of James Bay.
In a strongly worded open letter to Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come, the leader of the Grand Council of the Crees, Moose Factory Chief Norman Hardisty Jr. Rejected the notion of sharing rights and title with Quebec Cree; saying their past actions do not demonstrate a history of sharing.
“You say that your interest is to ‘share’ the lands and resources in the Moose Cree’s homeland … but the facts tell a different story,” reads Hardisty’s letter. The letter goes on to say that when the Quebec Cree signed their own treaty in 1975, the Moose Cree supported them without expecting any consultation because there was no mention that the Quebec Cree had claims to land on the Ontario side of the border.
That modern treaty, argued Hardisty, extinguished any rights and title that other groups might have had to Quebec Cree’s considerable territory inside Quebec, and that fact has been left unchallenged by groups such as the Moose Cree because it was understood they would stick to their interests inside Quebec.
“You have billions from hydro-electric developments, from government funding, from economic development activities and from endless lawsuits. Yet there has never been the slightest suggestion you would ‘share’ this wealth with anyone else, certainly not the Moose Cree. And we have never asked for any of it,” wrote Hardisty.
The issue at the heart of the Moose Cree’s dispute with the Quebec Cree is a lawsuit launch in Ontario claiming rights and title to a portion of land on the Ontario side of the border that runs from the southern shore of James Bay down to Lake Abitibi.
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