Chiefs Discuss RHT Annuity Case ahead of Trial

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Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

Ogimaa Duke Peltier of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory and Chief Dean Sayers of Batchewana First Nations hosted a press conference today ahead of the Robinson Huron Treaty Annuity Appeal trial beginning tomorrow.

“I do need to share with you my disappointment with the Ontario government in regards to dragging their heels, dragging their feet, delay, delay, delay. I’m concerned on a number of fronts,” Chief Sayers opens the conference.

The trial that is set for tomorrow is Ontario appealing the decision made by Justice Patricia Hennessy in the first phase of the trial in 2018.  Justice Hennessy held, “I find that the Crown has a mandatory and reviewable obligation to increase the Treaties’ annuities when the economic circumstances warrant.”

“I think the provincial government is acting contrary to those original expectations around how we were going to live together in harmony, and share not only the value of the natural resources, but shared insights together,” Chief Sayers shares.

The Ontario government intends to undo the ruling held by Justice Hennessy, while Canada does not aim to dispute the ruling at this point.

When asked what they think the Ontario Government is going to bring forward in this appeal,  Chief Sayers expressed, “I’m kind of looking forward to the spin that the Crown is going to put on the inheritance that they have in regards to the relationship. We have a spiritual relationship that was drafted in our treaty discussions […] witnessed by our ancestral leadership.”

“It’s not our preferred resolution process, but out of necessity, we’re going to try to find justice within the provincial and federal legal systems,” Chief Sayers explains, “but we’re not going to lose sight of our heritage, we’re not going to lose sight of what we reserved for our people, and we’re not going to lose sight of a promise to all of creation.”

Chief Sayers closes in saying, “I’m looking forward to listening to the perspective that Ontario is going to bring to the table here after there was a pretty eloquent, pretty well defined decision already by Justice Hennessey.”

Follow SaultOnline as we bring you up to date information on the Annuity Trial beginning April 13, 2021.