SUDBURY – 40 members of the Batchewana First Nation travelled to Sudbury Monday, to witness the final arguments for the Robinson Huron Treaty (RHT) Annuity case.
Batchewana is one of the 21 Anishinabek Nations with annuitants under the RHT. The case has been ongoing since September 2017 and centres around the annuity provision of the RHT where the First Nations were promised an increase to their share of revenue from the sale of the natural resources from their lands. The annuity is currently set at $4 per year and has not increased since 1874 from the original amount of $1.60 per person.
Batchewana has always been an advocate of the RHT starting with the ‘Mica Bay incident’, a celebrated story that is still told by the Indigenous Elders and commercial fishers of the First Nation.
It begins in the summer of 1849 where Chiefs Nebenaigoching and Shingwauk, accompanied by fellow leadership, borrowed a cannon (a remnant of the war of 1812) from Sault Ste. Marie and made their way up to the Mica Bay mining location on the shores of Lake Superior.
The action was spurred by the First Nation Chiefs after an incident with the Quebec mining company. It was alleged that the company had illegally established mining operations in violation of the Royal proclamation of 1763 and Indigenous law. The Royal Proclamation set out that the lands in question were in the care and control of the Indigenous people and that in order to develop or extract anything, there needed to be Treaties or agreements in place.