Treaty 4 First Nations suing Ottawa over annuities
REGINA – Chief Lynn Acoose says she’s taking a step elders and past Indigenous leaders in her community have long been reluctant to.
The chief of Zagime Anishinabek, home to several First Nations in southeastern Saskatchewan, has filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against the federal government. The suit alleges Ottawa has not kept its end of the bargain over annuity payments after signing Treaty 4 nearly 150 years ago.
Chief Derek Nepinak of Minegoziibe Anishinabe in west-central Manitoba is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit, filed this month in Federal Court. Chief Murray Clearsky of Waywayseecappo First Nation filed in January a similar proposed class-action against Ottawa in Manitoba Court of King’s Bench.
“We are doing something our elders have counselled us against,” Acoose said in an interview this week. “What they didn’t want was for the spirit and intent of the treaty to be fixed by a decision. “I feel a very big risk for me, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take.”