land issues

MICHIPICOTEN FIRST NATION HAS RESERVES IN WAWA (MICHPICOTEN), CHAPLEAU AND MISSANABIE, ONTARIO.

Dog Lake Survey

The Dog Lake Survey plan was duly recorded in the Canada Lands Surveys Records in May 2011. Chief and Council anticipate the development of a policy for the allotment of surveyed lots  in order to be fair and equitable to its  citizens who may be interested in developing vacation properties on Dog Lake. This reserve will not be funded by Indian Affairs and no programs will be available for assistance to members. If you wish to have your name added to the list of inquiries on Dog Lake, please contact Melanie Pilon, Band Manager at 705-856-1993, ext. 213 or toll free 1-800-303-7723, if you have not already done so.  As soon as the Policy Statement has been developed, members will be notified.  As of January 2015, there is not an approved policy in place, however, members are encouraged to express  interest in this area as noted. THIS INFORMATION IS FOR MEMBERS ONLY.

MFN Privately Owned Lands

MFN owns (lands held in trust by the First Nation of Michipicoten Cultural Association) several parcels of land in the vicinity of IR49/49A reserves on Lake Superior. There are two parcels of land on each side of Michipicoten Harbour, as well as lands which include the abandoned rail bed acquired some years back and another parcel of land, approximately 225 acres adjacent to the abandoned rail bed, an area which closes the gap between a portion of the rail bed and what will be  reserve lands (through the Boundary Claim settlement). The First Nation acquired both the surface and mining rights to all parcels of land.

The abandoned CN Rail bed that MFN acquired some years back would have been an option for an alternate  future base for the development of arterial access road to reserve lands and Michipicoten Harbour; an economic opportunity for future community development  and shipping access.   In the Fall of 2012 after extensive flooding and road washouts, the rail bed was no longer a viable option as an access road. MFN continues to pursue other avenues and resources for the development of an alternate access road.

Boundary Claim Settlement

Registered members turning 18 years of age you may be entitled to receive benefits through the land claim settlement. New Members registered as a result of Bill C3 and the Gender Equity Act are not entitled to a PCD but  may be  entitled to current benefits available through policy. Please notify Melanie Pilon, Band Manager at 705-856-1993 Ext. 213 or via email. KEEP YOUR  ADDRESS & PHONE NUMBER UP TO DATE AT ALL TIMES IN ORDER TO RECEIVE BENEFITS, NEWSLETTERS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS.

Boundary Claim lands – As a result of the settlement of the Boundary Claim, Canada agreed that up to 6,335 acres of land be set apart as reserve land for the use and the benefit of the First Nation, which included parcels to the west and  east of the reserve and other lands that might be of interest to the First Nation in areas provided in the Boundary Claim negotiations. The implementation process for the return to reserve of the lands to the east and west began almost seven years ago. In the meantime, the land is still considered Crown Land during the transition period (see article below). Return to reserve status is pending a final Order in Council by the Federal Government and may be completed by mid to late 2015.

Boundary Claim Settlement in 2008 January 12, 2008, marked an historic day for Michipicoten First Nation Members who voted on a land claim settlement on their Boundary Claim with Canada and Ontario. Chief Joe Buckell and Council of the day Myrtle Swanson, Denise Churchill, William Swanson Sr., Emile Neyland, Evelyn Stone and Patti Goodfellow passed a resolution authorizing the signing of the Settlement Agreement between all three governments after a successful ratification vote. Of the 499 ballots cast, both mail in and on reserve voting, that went into the ballot box, 484 (97%) were in favour of acceptance, with only 8 (2%) voting no and 7 (1%) spoiled ballots. Over 80% of the voting membership voted on this land claim, the numbers of which are reminiscent of the 2003 Algoma Claims Settlement between Michipicoten First Nation and Canada. In March 2000, Michipicoten First Nation submitted a specific land claim to Canada and Ontario that the Gros Cap Indian Reserve #49 as surveyed in 1899 did not reflect the 1853 agreement regarding the boundary of the reserve. Canad accepted the claim for negotiation in late 2003 and Ontario agreed to enter discussions in early 2005. Michipicoten First Nation is located 24 km south of Wawa, Ontario along beautiful Whitesands beach on the north east shore of Lake Superior. The community is registered under Gros Cap Indian Reserve #49 under the 1850 Robinson Superior Treaty. In addition, Michipicoten First Nation has reserve lands located  Missanabie and Chapleau, Ontario.

After three years the parties negotiated the proposed settlement of the boundary claim which included financial compensation from Canada and about 3,000 acres of provincial Crown land to be added to reserve from Ontario. A written offer was received from Canada in the summer of 2007 for the compensation package with Settlement and Trust Agreements then drafted and the First Nation requested Indian Affairs to conduct a ratification vote on January 12, 2008. By overwhelming results Members of Michipicoten First Nation voted for acceptance of the negotiated land claim settlement package which, combined with monetary compensation and land value, amounts $58.8 million dollars, which is the 2nd largest specific land claim settlement in Ontario to date.

The Boundary Claim was the final of six claims settled between Michipicoten First Nation and Canada within an unprecedented time frame. Under the Michipicoten Pilot Project, initiated just a little over ten years ago, a cooperative non confrontational approach to land claims settlements was utilized to great success. Had each claim been filed separately under the normal land claim process it would have taken many decades, if not more than a century, to reach all of these settlements. Chief and Council, the Michipicoten negotiating team and the negotiators for Canada and Ontario were applauded for their efforts in this regard and especially the Michipicoten Members.

The Trust Fund established for this settlement will provide ongoing benefits for Michipicoten Members for over 100 years. Chief Joe Buckell was quoted as saying, “This is a proud moment in the history of our First Nation and for our people, and an example of what can be accomplished through dedication and cooperation. A celebration was held at a Signing Ceremony on Reserve in May 2009 ceremony with Canada and Ontario, our Members and invited guests, dignitaries and the media. Chi Miigwetch”.