Federal government to pay Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation $4.5-million
The Specific Claims Tribunal has ordered the federal government to pay Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation $4.5-million for breaching its lawful obligation to pay treaty annuities, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) said in a media release Tuesday.
“We have waited for 130 years for this outstanding Treaty Rights claim to be honoured and settled,” said Beardy’s and Okemasis Chief Rick Gamble in a written statement. “This is a great day for the people of Beardy’s and Okemasis and a great victory for treaty rights.”
After the Riel Resistance of 1885, the Canadian government withheld annuities from 14 First Nations believed to be involved in the revolt. According to the FSIN, the government also confiscated guns, ammunition, horse and cattle and enforced a pass system that meant indigenous peoples couldn’t leave their reserve without permission. Beardy’s and Okemasis was not allowed to have a Chief and council until 1936.
“The specific claim by the Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation is about the implementation and the protection of treaty promises that were made when Chief Beardy entered into treaty,” said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron in a written release. “The Tribunal’s decision will set a precedent for the other First Nations who experienced similar treatment and have specific claims with the government."
The federal government withheld treaty payments from 1885 to 1888.
Both the federal government and the First Nation have one month to appeal the decision.