The Chiefs of Ontario support Temagami First Nation and Teme-Augama Anishnabai’s legal action challenging the Ontario Métis Harvesting Agreement and Métis section 35 rights in their Ancestral territory
(Toronto, ON – December 1, 2023) Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare has issued the following statement offering support to Temagami First Nation and Teme-Augama Anishnabai following their filling of a statement of claim to protect their inherent and constitutionally protected rights from unfounded Métis rights assertions in their Ancestral territory:
“Temagami First Nation and Teme-Augama Anishnabai (collectively “TAA”) have my full support, as well as the support of the Chiefs of Ontario, in their legal action challenging Métis rights assertions in their Ancestral territory of N’Dakimenan,” said Ontario Regional Chief Hare.
At the Chiefs of Ontario Fall Chiefs Assembly from November 21-23, 2023, Chiefs in Assembly unanimously passed a resolution expressing support and solidarity with TAA as they embark on this legal challenge.
For context, in 2018, Ontario approved or authorized two MNO members to build an incidental harvesting cabin on Pond Lake in N’Dakimenan, infringing on TAA’s inherent and constitutionally protected rights, and undermining the TAA’s inherent jurisdiction over N’Dakimenan.
TAA is resorting to the courts because Ontario failed to consult with the TAA before entering the Métis Harvesting Agreement or prior to approving the Pond Lake Cabin, while also failing to justify the infringement of the TAA’s inherent and constitutionally protected rights. Further, the Pond Lake Cabin unreasonably interferes with the TAA’s inherent and constitutionally protected rights.
On September 14, 2023, TAA issued a Notice of Eviction to the MNO members, demanding that they remove the cabin and their personal property from TAA’s territory by November 1st. At that time, a peaceful protection camp was installed alongside the Pond Lake cabin and access has been restricted. As of November 29th, the peaceful protection camp is still maintained.
“I commend Chief Shelly Moore-Frappier and second chief John Turner, as well as their council and community members, for the strong leadership we are seeing on this issue,” said Regional Chief Hare. “First Nation in the Ontario region are unified in our collective opposition to Métis rights assertions in our Ancestral and Treaty territories and Bill C-53, and stand with Temagami First Nation and Teme-Augama Anishnabai as they take on this challenge.”
In an interview for APTN, Chief Moore-Frappier made the important connection between the Pond Lake cabin and Bill C-53. First Nations in the Ontario region, and across the country have been opposing Bill C-53, Recognition of Certain Métis Governments in Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan and Métis Self-Government Act, since before it was introduced in the House of Commons on June 21st, 2023, because it recognizes the communities represented by the Metis Nation of Ontario as having section 35 rights.
First Nations in the Ontario region have serious concerns about the MNO being included in this legislation because the communities represented by the MNO do not meet the legal criteria to be recognized as having section 35 rights. While Canada and the MNO have maintained that Bill C-53 is only about internal governance matters, our Leadership and citizens know firsthand that, on the ground, the MNO is showing up to consultation meetings, signing Impact Benefit Agreements and other agreements with industry, and erecting these types of cabins on our territories as if they are rights-holders. This legislation will further embolden and empower them, and make their claims real.
We look forward to continuing to participate in the legislative process surrounding Bill C-53. First Nations across Canada are calling for the withdrawal of Bill C-53 until there is meaningful consultation with rights-holders and there is due diligence on Canada’s behalf to verify the MNO’s claims.
More on this:
Read TAA’s Media Release
Watch TAA’s Press Conference
Read TAA’s Statement of Claim
First Nation in Ontario turns to the courts to shut down Métis hunting cabin
TFN and TAA begin legal action over Pond Lake cabin
The Chiefs of Ontario support all First Nations in Ontario as they assert their sovereignty, jurisdiction and their chosen expression of nationhood. Follow Chiefs of Ontario on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @ChiefsOfOntario.
Chiefs of Ontario
Director of Policy and Communications
Policy and Communications Sector
Chiefs of Ontario
Cell: (416) 579-4998