SAUGEEN TERRITORY – Land back, financial compensation, and a commitment to support housing initiatives are all part of settling a long-standing land claim between Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) and the Town of Saugeen Shores.
SON issued a press release on Sept. 24 announcing the historic settlement that said, “The Town of Saugeen Shores and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) have reached an out of court resolution to Saugeen Shore’s involvement in SON’s long-standing legal action concerning parts of the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula.”
The terms of the agreement are confidential, but SON shared some highlights in the release.
Saugeen Shores has provided approximately 1.7 hectares of municipal property, financial compensation, and a commitment for ongoing municipal support for housing development.
Saugeen Shores also acknowledges the need for reconciliation and protection of the Indigenous significance of other lands in the Summerside development recently transferred to the town. Saugeen Shores will work with SON to rename these lands.
SON launched the claim about 25 years ago, but it didn’t go to trial until 2019. The two parties reached the out of court agreement to settle the claim on Sept. 21.
“SON’s claim against the federal, provincial and other municipal governments is continuing, with appeals recently filed at the Ontario Court of Appeal,” said the press release.
The Chiefs of both communities that make up SON and the mayor of Saugeen Shores released simultaneous statements to the press:
“We are pleased to close this chapter of our land claim.” Chief of Saugeen First Nation Lester Anoquot said. “Through cooperation, and a spirit of listening and joint respect, we have been able to arrive at an agreement with Saugeen Shores that supports a strong relationship between our communities.”
Chief Veronica Smith (Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation) added, “Reconciliation is an ongoing process, but each step forward is important and significant. This resolution has strengthened the partnership with our neighbours at the Town of Saugeen Shores and is a positive step forward in our journey together on our traditional lands.”
“The town is learning more and more about how we can do better by our First Nations friends and partners. This agreement, and our process to get here, represent what’s possible and have reminded us that still more needs to be done,” said Saugeen Shores Mayor Luke Charbonneau. “We are grateful to have worked in collaboration with SON to find a resolution we all support.”
The town and SON will work together in 2022 to jointly acknowledge the town’s commitment to reconciliation by investing in the property and working on renaming initiatives.
Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times