For Immediate Release
May 7, 2015
Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation, Treaty 6 – The Specific Claims Tribunal has found in favour of the Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation in a judgement handed down by the Honourable Justice Harry Slade, Chair of the Specific Claims Tribunal.
“I find that the Tribunal has jurisdiction to determine the Claim of the Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation on the ground of the failure to provide “lands or other assets under a treaty”; and that “the Crown breached its lawful obligation to pay treaty annuities to the Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation” said Justice Harry Slade in his 102 page ruling dated May 6, 2015.
The Declaration of Claim launched in 2011 to the Specific Claims Tribunal sought compensation and recognition from the Crown that the termination of annual treaty payments was unilateral and unlawful; and that the Crown breached its treaty, trust, fiduciary and equitable duty.
“We’ve never been a rebel band, Chiefs Beardy and Okemasis were honourable men, and the federal government was wrong to withhold treaty annuities to our members” exclaimed Chief Rick Gamble of the Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation.
While the Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation welcomes the tribunal finding, it’s not holding its breath on the government’s response.
“This is a government that has spent nearly $150 million fighting treaty rights across Canada. They didn’t come to the table to negotiate in good faith so we expect they’ll appeal their own tribunal decision. But, a wrong has been set right; this is a big win for both the Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation – and for treaty rights in Saskatchewan” concluded Chief Gamble.
In 1886, Chief Beardy & Okemasis entered into the historic Treaty 6 agreement which included a promise by the Crown to pay a yearly annuity $5 to each band member. From 1885 – 1888 those payments were not made to members of the Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation.
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View the Specific Claim Tribunal ruling here.
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Chief & Council Communications