Court case description
The Six Nations of the Grand River Band is suing the governments of Canada and Ontario in a court case that started in 1995. The Band says that under the 1784 Haldimand Proclamation, which it considers a treaty, the British Crown set aside about 950,000 acres of lands along the Grand River in Ontario which the Six Nations of the Grand River and their descendants were to enjoy forever.
The Band says that after 1784, the British Crown, and later the governments of Canada and Ontario, failed to set aside these lands, improperly sold most of them to settlers, and mismanaged the proceeds of sales from them. The Band is asking the court to make findings to this effect, and seeking compensation from the governments of Canada and Ontario for these historical wrongs.
Canada and Ontario’s position is as follows:
The tract of land described in the 1784 Haldimand Proclamation and 1793 Simcoe Patent, which was made available to the Six Nations people who wished to settle there, came from lands covered by a treaty made with the Mississaugas in 1783. The lands were not Six Nations treaty lands and were not reserve lands. Over decades, the Six Nations people made a series of valid surrenders and sales of lands within the tract. Some lands were also affected by canals and other infrastructure projects. While historical facts and positions will continue to be researched and reviewed during the litigation process, Canada and Ontario both disagree with the Band that they have been at fault in their dealings with the Six Nations that are raised in this action.
Proposed interventions in the court case
Three groups are now asking the court for permission to take part in the case: the Haudenosaunee Development Institute on behalf of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (“HDI”), by appointment of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (“HCCC”), the Men’s Fire of the Six Nations Grand River Territory (“Men’s Fire”), and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (“MCFN”). These groups say that the case might affect their rights, and they should have a chance to participate. HDI says that rights granted by the Haldimand Proclamation belong to all Haudenosaunee people (which HDI says is over 100,000 people) and not just to the Six Nations of the Grand River Band (which HDI says is under 30,000 people). HDI says that it acts with authority from the HCCC to represent all Haudenosaunee people in Canada and the U.S. Men’s Fire says that HDI does not properly represent, and is not authorized to represent, all Haudenosaunee people. MCFN supports the Six Nations of the Grand River Band’s effort to hold Canada and Ontario accountable for failures and broken promises relating to the Haldimand Proclamation lands. Because those lands are located in what it says is its traditional and treaty territory, MCFN wishes to ensure its history, rights, and relationship with that territory are accurately presented. MCFN does not seek compensation and does not intend to reduce compensation that Canada and Ontario may owe.
The court will hold a hearing on May 8-10 and 12, 2023 for four days where each group wanting to participate can make their arguments. It is up to the court to decide if any of these groups will be allowed to participate in the case. If any other groups want to ask to participate, the court has directed that they have to let the lawyers know this by March 10, 2023.
Materials and contact information
You can read the materials for this hearing at this website: www.sngrlitigation.com
If you do not have Internet access, you can ask for copies by contacting one of the lawyers below: