Indian Claims Commission

Indian Claims Commission

June 14, 2007 11:00 ET

ICC Releases Report on Sakimay First Nation's Treaty Land Entitlement Claim

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 14, 2007) - The Indian Claims Commission (ICC) released a report today regarding an outstanding treaty land entitlement claim submitted by the Sakimay First Nation. The key issue in this inquiry was whether the Sakimay First Nation's 1907 amalgamation with the Little Bone Band resulted in its having a shortfall of treaty land. During the course of the ICC's inquiry, the federal government recognized that it had an outstanding obligation and accepted the claim for negotiation.

The panel of Commissioners for this inquiry was composed of Alan C. Holman (Chair), Jane Dickson-Gilmore and Sheila G. Purdy. Commissioner Holman remarked: "Although the panel released no findings or recommendations today, the successful resolution of this dispute illustrates how the Commission's process can achieve results. In this case, the Commission facilitated a joint research project, conducted by the parties, which led the federal government to reconsider its rejection of the claim. Helping the parties to work together leads to a better understanding of the issues, increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome."

The Little Bone Band resided on Indian Reserve (IR) 73A, next to the Sakimay First Nation's reserve (IR 74). By 1887, the two First Nations had developed close ties, sharing the use of reserve lands. Little Bone and his followers were paid their treaty annuities under the Sakimay paylist from 1887 on, although no formal amalgamation occurred until 1907. At that time, the Little Bone Band voted to surrender its reserve.

The Sakimay First Nation maintained that a shortfall of treaty land existed because the members of the Little Bone Band were not counted when its treaty land entitlement was calculated. The federal government rejected the claim in 2002 and the First Nation requested that the Indian Claims Commission conduct an inquiry. The ICC accepted this request in September 2003.

The Commission held planning conferences, travelled to the community to interview the Elders, received "willsay" statements, and facilitated meetings and conference calls in an attempt to establish the correct population number of the First Nation at the date of first survey. Following a joint research project conducted during the inquiry, the federal government agreed that the Little Bone Band was properly affiliated with the Sakimay First Nation, and that the 28 members of the Little Bone Band should have been counted with the Sakimay First Nation for the purpose of calculating its treaty land entitlement.

In 2006, Canada accepted the claim for negotiation, recognizing that a lawful obligation was owed to the Sakimay First Nation. In view of this acceptance, the Commission panel declared the ICC's inquiry closed in February 2007.

The ICC was established in 1991. Its mandate is: to inquire, at the request of a First Nation, into specific claims that have been rejected by the federal government, or accepted claims where the First Nation disputes the compensation criteria being considered; and to provide mediation services on consent of the parties at any stage of the claims process.

A copy of this news release and the inquiry report are available on the Indian Claims Commission's website at www.indianclaims.ca


HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The Sakimay First Nation (formerly the Sakimay Band) is a Cree-speaking nation located east of Regina, Saskatchewan, near the community of Grenfell. Today's Sakimay First Nation is a combination of the Sakimay or Mosquito Band and the Little Bone Band. Historically, the Sakimay Band was part of the Fort Ellice Band led by Waywayseecappo, who signed Treaty 4 in 1874.

Following the signing of Treaty 4, Sakimay and his followers were paid treaty annuities with Waywayseecappo and were listed under his paylist until 1881, when a separate paylist was drawn up for them. Following Sakimay's death, the Band split into two groups; one group was led by Yellow Calf, the other by Shesheep. Each group was paid treaty annuities separately until 1883, when they were recombined under one paylist.

In 1881, Indian Reserve (IR) 74 was surveyed for the Sakimay First Nation on the south side of Crooked Lake, where the group led by Yellow Calf resided. IR 74A, consisting of 1,651.2 acres on the north side of Crooked Lake, was set aside in 1884 for Shesheep and his followers. In 1889, additional lands were added to this reserve and its size was confirmed as 3,584 acres.

By 1887, the Sakimay First Nation had developed close ties with the Little Bone Band, which occupied IR 73A, on Leech Lake, near the Sakimay reserve. It is thought that Little Bone's Band was represented at Treaty 4 by his half-brother, Cowessess. Little Bone and his followers were paid their treaty annuities with Cowessess until 1881, when a separate paylist was created for them.

As early as 1885, correspondence between Department of Indian Affairs officials acknowledged the close ties between the bands located in the Crooked Lake area, including the Sakimay and Little Bone Bands.

Little Bone and his followers were paid annuities under the Sakimay paylist from 1887 on. By 1907, the Department of Indian Affairs acknowledged that the two bands had amalgamated and proceeded to formalize the arrangement. Both bands voted in favour of amalgamation, and the Little Bone Band voted to surrender IR 73A for sale.

In the early 1980s, the Sakimay First Nation submitted a claim alleging an outstanding treaty land entitlement. The claim was rejected by the Department of Indian Affairs in 1984. The First Nation completed further research and resubmitted the claim in 1997. Following the rejection of this submission in 2002, the First Nation requested that the ICC conduct an inquiry into its rejected specific claim.

Contact Information

  • Indian Claims Commission
    Manon Garrett
    Communications Officer
    613-947-3939