Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
A new agreement between the federal government and the Kinistin Saulteaux Nation will compensate the nation for the agricultural equipment it was promised but didn’t receive.
Treaty 4, which Kinistin was a part of, stated that each First Nation receive:
- one yoke of oxen,
- one bull,
- four cows,
- wheat, barley, potatoes and oats for planting.
As well as each family was to get:
- two hoes,
- one spade,
- one scythe,
- one axe,
- one plough, and
- two harrows
According to Kinistin’s claim, Canada breached its legal obligations to the Kinistin Saulteaux Nation by failing to provide these agricultural benefits owed as specified in Treaty 4. Treaty 4 had a clause to ensure the First Nations had protection from change and economic hardship. Not fulfilling this treaty commitment limited the Kinistin Saulteaux Nation’s economic self-sufficiency and its capacity to produce its own food and agricultural products.
On Aug. 2, Chief Felix Thomas of Kinistin and federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Gary Anandasangaree announced $56.8 million for the full and final settlement of the claim, as part of the Government of Canada’s Expedited Resolution Strategy for Agricultural Benefits Claims.
Thomas said the compensation was negotiated and done after extensive research and analysis on the loss of use and shortfall created by the non-implementation of the treaty promises.
“The formula can be used as a template for other First Nations and will not re-invent the wheel. The formula was based on research and analysis that was acceptable to all parties.”
The federal government is now working to resolve other agricultural benefits claims through an accelerated approach based on the lessons learned during negotiations with the Kinistin Saulteaux Nation.
The federal government said honouring Canada’s moral and legal obligations and properly compensating Indigenous Peoples for the harm caused to them is fundamental to advancing reconciliation in Canada and rebuilding trust with Indigenous communities. The successful resolution of specific claims is a key step in Canada’s ongoing reconciliation with First Nations – one that acknowledges and addresses the wrongs of the past and helps to build a better future for everyone in Canada.
“For Kinistin this agreement is a treaty right fulfilled and treaty implementation. This was a result of the parties working towards a fair process and a result we feel is fair. We have other outstanding claims and are confident that this will pave the way for treaty implementation in other areas.” Thomas said.
“This settlement agreement is the result of years of hard work and persistence.” Anandasangaree said. “I want to acknowledge Chief Thomas for his leadership and the negotiating team for their dedication. The denial of these benefits had devastating effects on the Kinistin Saulteaux Nation – as a country, it’s our duty to address these historic wrongs and repay Canada’s debts. This is key to advancing reconciliation and building a stronger and more united country, for everyone in Canada.”
The Kinistin Saulteaux Nation Treaty 4 Agricultural Benefits Specific Claim was received on March 11, 2008, and Canada first offered to negotiate on September 28, 2011.
A community ratification vote was held on April 18, 2023, with 97 per cent of the participants voting in favour of the settlement agreement.
From April 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023, 56 specific claims were resolved for $3.5 billion in compensation; 64 claims were filed with the Minister; and Canada made an offer to negotiate on 58 claims, the federal government said. Working in partnership with First Nations, Canada has resolved over 665 specific claims since 1973.
Kinistin Saulteaux Nation is located 39 kilometres southeast of Melfort and 42 kilometres southwest of Tisdale.