RHT Annuity Case to enter third phase next week

·2 min read

The Robinson Huron Treaty Annuities Case will be beginning early next week on Tuesday.

This is the third phase of the Annuities case, with the first two phases ruling in favour of the First Nations.

The Robinson Huron Treaty (RHT) includes 21 trustees appointed by the 21 First Nations this treaty includes. The current RHT beneficiary population is approximately 30,000 people.

As members of Sault Ste Marie, this treaty encompasses all lands in town, all the way to North Bay and Kirkland Lake, covering 92,463 square km. Chief Sayers of Batchewana First Nation sits as one of six on the Litigation Management Committee, which guides and works with the legal team.

The Robinson Huron Treaty Chiefs are asking Ontario to stop their appeals of the Stage One and Two decisions and adhere to the augmentation clause of the Treaty, which is as follows:

“Should the Territory hereby ceded [...] at any future period produce such an amount as will enable the Government of this Province, without incurring loss, to increase the annuity hereby secured to them, then and in that case the same shall be augmented from time to time.”

Under the RHT, the Crown promised to pay a perpetual annuity in 1850 which translates now to $1.60 per member. Since 1850, the annuity has increased once in 1874 to the amount of $4.00 per member, where that amount currently still stands in 2021.

The government has not upheld their treaty agreements, as both Judges have pointed out in the first two phases of the case. First Nations people were to share in the profits of the land that was signed over to settlers, and that amount was to grow as Crown profits grew.

This Annuity case will set a precedent for many First Nations Communities who are dealing with the shortcomings of the government upholding treaty agreements and rights.

Josie Fiegehen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, SaultOnline.com