Petition to honour Robinson Huron Treaty delivered to Vic Fedeli

By: David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,
Friday afternoon at 4:00, representatives of the Robinson Huron Treaty Litigation Fund and the authors of a petition demanding the provincial government honour the treaty, met outside of MPP Vic Fedeli’s office in downtown North Bay to present him with the document.
About 40 people were in attendance, including Amanda Deforge, who drafted the petition last October, and since then, has garnered over 5,000 signatures.
Others were involved as well in creating the petition, she said, noting the idea was inspired by “a school project, essentially” while taking a class taught by Elizabeth Carlson-Manathara at Sudbury’s Laurentian University.
“Obviously it gained a lot of traction,” Deforge said, “and I’m really proud as to what it became.”
The petition asks the government “to honour the Robinson Huron Treaty,” she said, adding “the Indigenous populations in our communities deserve what they deserve.”
“Our oppressive governments took everything away from them, so they need to start treating them properly.”
“It is calling on the government of Ontario to stop fighting the First Nations in court,” Carlson-Manathara added, speaking of the petition’s aim.
“And to stop their approach of litigating and appealing decisions that have been made in favour of the First Nations,” Carlson-Manathara said.
The goal being “to stop government from spending tax-payer money to fight First Nations in court.”
When Carlson-Manathara “and her students at Laurentian, heard about how this treaty was being broken, they wanted to do something about it,” said Catherine Murton Stoehr, a history professor at Nipissing University.
“So that’s why we’re here,” Murton Stoehr told the crowd, “they’re going to deliver that petition to Mr. Fedeli.”
Fedeli was not available to receive the petition, although one of his staff members was there to accept the document.
Nipissing First Nation’s chief, Scott McLeod, “was pleased to share the news issued by the Ontario Court of Appeal earlier today.”
The court’s decision “rejects many of the issues raised by [the government of] Ontario, and the judgment states we unanimously reject the majority of arguments raised on appeal.”
“We dismiss Ontario’s appeal from stage two proceedings in its entirety,” he continued, speaking of the court’s decision.
He mentioned the court’s decision is 300 pages, and now “the legal team is doing a thorough review to understand the nuances and implications for the future.”
A press conference is scheduled for next Tuesday “to provide further information about the decision and the next steps.”
The Robinson Huron Treaty representatives will be able to provide more information about the court’s judgment at that time, Chief McLeod said.
“We believe today’s decision is a step towards justice,” he said, adding that the “quickest path to justice and reconciliation is for the government of Ontario to negotiate with the Robinson Huron Treaty Nations and Canada to achieve a settlement.”
“And if I was able to stand today beside my friend, Vic, who is unable to be here, I would tell him that relationships are fostered through honour, not through litigation.”