Le Lézard
Subjects: NTA, CPG, CFG, DEI

Big Grassy and Ojibways of Onigaming First Nations, Canada, and Ontario settle the First Nations' flooding specific claims

BIG GRASSY, ON and OJIBWAYS OF ONIGAMING FIRST NATIONS, ON, July 5, 2023 /CNW/ - Today, Chief Lynn Indian of Big Grassy First Nation; Chief Jeff Copenace of Ojibways of Onigaming First Nation; the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown?Indigenous Relations; and the Honourable Greg Rickford, Ontario's Minister of Indigenous Affairs, announced that the Big Grassy and Ojibways of Onigaming First Nations, the Government of Canada, and the Government of Ontario have concluded tripartite negotiations and reached a settlement agreement for the First Nations' flooding claims.

The First Nations' submitted claims were filed in response to Canada and Ontario alleging unauthorized construction and operation of the Rollerway and Norman dams, and consequent changes in water levels on Lake of the Woods, resulting in flooding of portions of the Assabaska Band's reserve land from 1887 to today without authorization or payment of compensation.

The First Nations ratified the settlement agreement in separate votes, and the Chiefs and Councils from Big Grassy and Onigaming First Nations signed the settlement in December 2022. Ontario's Minister of Indigenous Affairs executed the settlement agreement in January 2023, and Canada's Minister of Crown?Indigenous Relations executed the settlement agreement in March 2023.

Under this settlement, the Big Grassy and Ojibways of Onigaming First Nations will receive total compensation of $157 million. Of that amount, Canada will provide $119 million, and Ontario will provide the remaining $38 million. As part of this agreement, Big Grassy First Nation and Ojibways of Onigaming First Nation each have the option to acquire up to 1,932 acres to add to their respective reserve lands. Land will be acquired on a willing buyer/willing seller basis and may create new opportunities for community economic development, which would benefit the First Nations and the regional economy for generations to come.


"It is only appropriate that we give honour and recognition to the members of our First Nation, including our ancestors who have suffered the effects of the illegal flooding of our original homelands by those in positions of Government. We are happy that we have concluded these long-standing negotiations by reaching a fair and just final settlement with all parties involved. As always, we look to the future in rebuilding a positive relationship."

Chief Lynn Indian
Big Grassy First Nation

"It is a bittersweet day for our families. It is hard to understand why this claim took so long to negotiate and faced so many unnecessary delays to achieve compensation. During our State of Emergency in recent years, we have lost many community members and Elders who passed away and who will never see this day of justice. So, we honour their spirits today. We honour the many Ancestors we've lost, who faced disease, death and loss of Anishinaabe way of life because of this cruel, intentionally deliberate flooding of our Anishinaabe homelands. We are hopeful that these investments will pave a healthier path forward for our future generations so that we can ultimately lift our current State of Emergency for Suicides and Mental Wellness once and for all."

Chief Jeffrey Copenace
Ojibways of Onigaming First Nation

"The resolution of this claim signifies an important step in Canada's relationship with the people of Big Grassy and Ojibways of Onigaming First Nations. This negotiated settlement was made possible through the leadership of the Big Grassy and Ojibways of Onigaming First Nations and their dedication to the resolution of this longstanding claim. We look forward to continuing to rebuild trust with the Big Grassy and Ojibways of Onigaming First Nations and working together towards a more positive future."

The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Crown?Indigenous Relations

"This settlement with Big Grassy and Ojibways of Onigaming First Nations is the result of respectful and meaningful negotiation. It demonstrates Ontario's commitment to honouring our legal obligations and rectifying historical wrongs so that we can move forward together on the path toward reconciliation."

The Honourable Greg Rickford
Ontario's Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Member of Provincial Parliament for Kenora?Rainy River
"Congratulations to the people of Big Grassy and Ojibways of Onigaming First Nations. This has been a long time coming! I want to thank everyone who put in all the hours to make this happen."

Marcus Powlowski
Member of Parliament for Thunder-Bay?Rainy River

Quick facts

Associated links

Big Grassy First Nation
Ojibways of Onigaming First Nation
Government of Canada ?- Specific Claims
Government of Ontario ?- Settled Land Claims and Other Agreements

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SOURCE Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

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