After 160 years, the land claim between Fort William First Nation, just outside Thunder Bay, and the Ontario and Canadian governments has been settled.
In a settlement that includes $149 million from Canada’s government and $5 million from Ontario, provincial town lands on Lake Superior’s Flatland Island and Pie Island will be set apart as reserve land for Forth William First Nation, the ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development said in a statement. The Boundary Claim, as the settlement is called, was drafted by the three governments in November 2010 and then approved by member vote and by the provincial and federal governments.
"Fort William First Nation, Canada and Ontario worked hard to bring this claim home," said Chief Peter Collins of Fort William First Nation in a statement at the December 16 signing. "Now we have the land and resources that our First Nation needs to create businesses, employment and other opportunities which will benefit our members and the entire Thunder Bay area. The promises in the Treaty of 1850 about our reserve have finally been fulfilled."
The 1,800-member First Nation located just outside Thunder Bay, Ontario, also settled the Neebing Surrender Specific Claim for $22 million. That settlement, which entailed compensating Fort William for the confiscation of 6,400 acres of the western portion of the First Nation reserve in 1859, was approved by the community's members at the end of 2010 and then by Canada in March, AAND said.
“What we celebrate together today is the resolution of a claim that dates back to the 1850s,” said Member of Parliament Greg Rickford, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, at the signing ceremony for the two agreements. “Today, as we mark the conclusion of the negotiated settlement of your First Nation’s Boundary Claim with Canada and Ontario, we at last see your ancestors’ intentions for their descendants fulfilled. Our government is pleased to be a party to this resolution that enables us to honor past commitments.”