Robinson Huron chiefs object to treaty territory infringement

OTTAWA – At a meeting of chiefs from the Robinson Huron Treaty territory, the Robinson Huron Waawiindaamaagewin (RHW) issued letters of objection to the governments of Ontario and Canada regarding treaty territory infringement.

“Canada and Ontario know that our treaty-protected rights have been and continue to be eroded by colonial settler governments stepping outside of the spirit and intent of our nation-to-nation treaty relationship without a mandate,” said Chief Dean Sayers, spokesperson for the RHW in a February 8 release in the Anishinabek News. “The honour of the Crown and our sacred agreements must be upheld.”

There are a number of groups that are or have been in negotiations with Ontario and Canada that are infringing on RHT territory. There has been no consent or permission sought from RHT rights holders, Chief Sayers stated.

“We require that all colonial settler governments respect our unextinguished jurisdictions and further require that all colonial settler governments obtain our consent/permission. As the underlying title holders to our lands, our consent/permission has not been sought through any of these processes,” Chief Sayers told Anishinabek News. “We assert our sovereignty and we cannot have Canada or Ontario negotiating with other groups that infringe on our rights in our territory.”

The RHW issued a resolution on February 4 to the governments of Canada and Ontario concerning this issue.

In a separate process, following traditional protocols, RHW is approaching all neighbouring First Nations and treaty organizations to discuss any overlapping treaty boundary issues and access to shared harvesting territories. The RHW does not recognize Métis in the Robinson Huron treaty territory as having any land rights.

Established in 2017, the RHW is an organization comprised of 21 treaty partners along the north and east shore of Lake Huron, the eastern shore of Lake Superior and Manitoulin Island.

RHW was created to exercise exertion of inherent rights and reclamation of governance to address, at minimum, but not limited to, collective relevant jurisdictional issues and concerns including overlapping territorial claims, protection of land and water in the treaty territory and annuities.