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First Nation seeks compensation for withheld treaty payments
Officials with the Beardy's and Okemasis First Nation, as well as the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, address media in Saskatoon on Wednesday, April 6, 2016. (Julie Mireau/CTV Saskatoon)
Published Thursday, April 7, 2016 6:52PM CST
A Saskatchewan First Nation is leading 13 others in a grievance claim stemming back to the 1885 Riel Resistance.
The Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation is seeking compensation on behalf of 14 Saskatchewan bands for withheld treaty annuity payments following the Louis Riel-led uprising.
“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 and Chief Cut Nose (the predecessor to Chief Okemasis) entered into Treaty,” Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Chief Bobby Cameron said in a media release.
The three-day compensation hearing, which is set to begin Monday, follows a Specific Claims Tribunal ruling in May stating the Crown breached its obligation to pay treaty annuities to Beardy’s and Okemasis and the 13 other First Nations.
The Canadian government withheld treaty payments to the 14 First Nations from 1885 to 1888, the FSIN media release stated. The government labelled people on the First Nations as “rebel Indians.”
Crown officials confiscated guns, horses, cattle, carts, wagons and Treaty medals from the bands, the FSIN stated. The government enforced a pass system, which prevented First Nations people from leaving their reserves without permission, and officials did not allow the Beardy’s and Okemasis band to establish a chief and council until 1936.
The three-day hearing next week, which will be held at the Wanuskewin Heritage Centre, will be the first time the Specific Claims Tribunal has ruled on compensation since the Specific Claims Tribunal Act became law in 2008, according to the FSIN.
The 13 other Saskatchewan First Nations listed in the claim are Chakastaypasin, Little Pine, Lucky Man, Moosomin, Mosquito/Grizzly Bear’s Head/Lean Man, Muskeg Lake, One Arrow, Onion Lake, Poundmaker, Red Pheasant, Sweetgrass, Thunderchild and Young Chipewayan.