First Nations suing provincial, federal governments over broken treaty promises – by Aidan Chamandy (Northern Ontario Business – April 27, 2023)

Once a 60-day notice period is up, the claimants may seek injunctions against resource extraction projects

Several First Nations launched a lawsuit against the federal and provincial governments that could have massive implications for the future of resource extraction and Crown-Indigenous relations in Ontario and Canada.

The 10 First Nations are all from Treaty 9 territory, also known as the James Bay territory, which covers a huge swath of Ontario from Timmins north to Hudson’s Bay and west to northern parts of the Manitoba border. They’re looking to end the government’s “unilateral jurisdiction and decision-making control” throughout the region, according to a statement by the law firm Woodward and Company.

When the treaty was signed in the early 1900s, the agreement was that “First Nations would retain their decision-making governance over the lands and resources, and that the Crown governments would have some governance rights but not the right to take over,” the release said. In the time since, the suit alleges, the Crown hasn’t held up its end of the deal.

“Back when Treaty 9 was signed, Canada and Ontario made a written text of Treaty 9 on their own, in their headquarters, before ever talking to us First Nations. They then came to talk to us and made promises and commitments to us orally that we agreed to. This oral agreement is not the written text,” said Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Sylvia Koostachin Metatawabin.

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