First Nations asserting Aboriginal rights and title to traditional lands using maps and history

Press release

Timiskaming, Wolf Lake and Eagle Village First Nations announce Statement of Assertion of Aboriginal Rights and Title

January 23, 2013

(Ottawa, ON) - The Algonquin communities of Timiskaming, Wolf Lake, and Eagle Village today announce their assertion of Aboriginal rights and title to their traditional territories. The purpose of the announcement is to put other governments on notice, and to establish a firm basis for an effective consultation and accommodation process regarding developments that impact on their rights.

The territory covered under this Assertion of Rights and Title, measuring over 34,000 square kilometres, straddles the Quebec-Ontario border along the Upper Ottawa River (see attached map), with a large portion of it located in Ontario. The evidence, which has been in preparation for almost 20 years, shows that these communities are descended from the Algonquin bands that traditionally used and occupied the territory, and that they meet the legal tests for establishing rights and title. Because the rights being asserted are transboundary, this will require the attention and commitment of the government of Canada, as well as the governments of Quebec and Ontario. There are also some significant areas of overlap with the "Algonquins of Ontario" claim, which will need particular consideration in the short term.

"Our communities retain unextinguished aboriginal title. We have never surrendered our rights, by treaty or otherwise. What we need today is a recognition of those rights, and we are presenting this evidence to ensure effective consultation on matters affecting our interests," said Chief Terence McBride of Timiskaming. "We want to participate as true partners in the regional economy."

"Today our communities present strong evidence to establish our rights to our traditional territories," said Chief St. Denis of Wolf Lake. "All parties will have to work together to address our rights in a timely fashion," stated Chief St. Denis, adding, "We are encouraged by the events earlier this month, when Prime Minister Harper committed to the reform of the Comprehensive claims policy, because that is what is needed, and that is what we expect. The current federal policy framework is broken because it is based on the extinguishment and denial of our rights. We believe that now is the time to chart a new course, based on the recognition and affirmation of our rights."

The Chiefs expressed the desire to work in a mutually respectful way with their neighbours and third parties. "By establishing the Crown's duty to acknowledge our rights and accommodate our interests," explained Chief Paul of Eagle Village, "we will have greater certainty as we move forward to build a sustainable future for our First Nation communities. We will continue to work with our neighbours towards true partnership in the future."

For further information contact: www.algonquinnation.ca
Chief Harry St. Denis, Wolf Lake 819-627-6211
Chief Terence McBride, Timiskaming 819-629-7091 (English/Fran├žais)
Chief Madeleine Paul, Eagle Village 819-627-6884 (English/Fran├žais)
Peter Di Gangi, Algonquin Nation Secretariat 819-723-2019

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From AlgonquinNation.ca

Statement of Assertion of Aboriginal Rights and Title

Posted on January 22, 2013

23 January, 2013. The Algonquin communities of Timiskaming, Wolf Lake, and Eagle Village held a press conference today to present their assertion of Aboriginal Rights and Title to their traditional territories. The area in question includes over 34,000 square kilometres of the Ottawa Valley, and straddles the Ontario-Quebec border.

The purpose of the announcement is to give the governments of Canada, Ontario, and Quebec formal notice of these First Nation's asserted Aboriginal Rights and Title. The press conference precedes a meeting on January 24th, , 2013 with negotiators representing the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario, to address issues arising from the "Algonquins of Ontario" land claim. Meetings with the government of Quebec are in the process of being confirmed. The intention of Timiskaming, Wolf Lake, and Eagle Village is to begin a process of engagement with Canada, Ontario, and Quebec, to address their Aboriginal rights and title through consultation, accommodation, and good faith negotiations.

Timiskaming, Wolf Lake and Eagle Village are committed to the future of their home region, and they see the recognition of their rights as a means to ensure that they can contribute in a proactive and meaningful way, for the benefit of all. Over the next weeks and months, Timiskaming, Wolf Lake and Eagle Village will be meeting with neighbouring communities to address issues arising from this assertion of rights.

Materials for download related to this Statement of Assertion of Rights can be found below.

Press release for regional media (French)
Press release for regional media (English)

Press release for national media (French)
Press release for national media (English)

Overview of the Statement of Assertion of Rights (French)
Overview of the Statement of Assertion of Rights (English)

Map showing area over which rights are being asserted (low resolution)
Map showing area over which rights are being asserted (hi resolution)