Nishnawbe Aski Nation has invoiced Ontario for $127 million for benefits derived from natural resources extracted from its territories.
“Over the course of 100 years since the James Bay Treaty was signed, where we agreed to share the land and its resources, our share of the government of Ontario’s revenues collected from resources on our lands amounts to well to over $32 billion,” said Deputy Grand Chief Les Louttit on June 26. “We are just here to drop off the invoice for the annuity on this amount and this represents only partial payment.”
NAN commissioned Dr. Fred Lazar of the Schulich School of Business to report on resource revenue in the NAN region over the past 100 years.
“My understanding of Treaties 5 and 9 is that all revenues generated from the lands covered by these treaties were to be shared – there was no surrender involved,” Lazar said. “The NAN First Nations have never been given their share, nor has the province ever offered the compensation owing or has offered to sit down with the NAN First Nations chiefs to negotiate a revenue sharing agreement, an agreement that is over a century overdue.”
The report indicated NAN was owed revenue for lost revenues from 1911 to 2011, current annual revenues based on annual resources collected by Ontario and future incremental annual revenues on new resource projects.
The annual billing invoice is calculated over 100 years at current day values and represents only a portion of the $32 billion owed.
The NAN chiefs passed a resolution in May authorizing NAN to set up a negotiation committee to negotiate a resource-revenue sharing agreement on behalf of all NAN First Nations.
“Before we move forward with any new partnerships, we have some outstanding debts owed to us,” said Grand Chief Stan Beardy. “We are sending a strong message to the province that we would rather hand over the dignity of the struggle than to sign a deal our people cannot live with. They were signatories on the James Bay Treaty, which outlined a sharing component for land and resources. They have broken the treaty promises. We owe it to our future generations that we don’t have another historic swindle on our hands.”
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