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THUNDER BAY, ON   ----   Moose Cree First Nation, ON ------September 27, 2011 –  – Seven Matawa First Nations and Seven Mushkegowuk First Nations have signed a declaration to work together to achieve the implementation of the Oral Treaty.   The Chiefs Declaration states that we are “...committed to exercising our inherent and
treaty rights, without limitations imposed by others. We will consider the use of any options to ensure that the development of our homelands occurs only with the free, informed and prior consent of our First Nations.”

“Implementation of the Oral Treaty is long overdue,” said Chief Sonny Gagnon of Aroland First Nation.  “For over 100 years we have kept the promises we made to the Crown Governments of Ontario
and Canada.   Now they will have to acknowledge, respect, and abide by the promises they made to
us.  From now on, the First Nations that signed this declaration will be living by the Oral Treaty.
  That means we do not go by the written treaty document, but by the actual promises that were made
to us at the time Treaty No. 9 was signed.”

The James Bay Treaty (Treaty No. 9) was one of the last numbered treaties to be signed in Canada. 
It is the only treaty in Canada that was signed by a province. It was first signed in 1905 and 1906
by the Canadian Government, the Ontario Government, and the Cree, Ojibway and Algonquin Nations of
what is now known as Northern and Northwestern Ontario.  The Nations who signed in 1905-06 included
those people occupying the area south of the Albany River. Adhesions with the remaining Cree and
Ojibway Nations north of the Albany River were signed in 1929 and 1930.

“The Cree and Ojibway people have used oral tradition to pass down to each generation the promises
which were made by the Treaty Commissioners to our People, and the promises that were made by our
people to the Crown.  Those promises did not include giving up our land or our right to govern
ourselves,” said
Mushkegowuk Grand Chief Stan Louttit. “This declaration will be an important tool for unity which
we will use

to protect our rights, which include the right to give or withhold consent on any activity taking
place on our
lannddss..””
“The right to consultation and accommodation, which stems from the written treaty and our First
Nation

inherent rights, is enshrined in Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution Act, 1980. Our Oral Treaty
rights are just as significant and just as binding,” said Chief Celia  Echum of Ginoogaming First
Nation. “The People of Matawa and Mushkegowuk have had ties with each other since time immemorial.
We are pleased to work together on implementation of the Oral Treaty.”

Matawa is a Tribal Council with a membership of nine Ojibway and Cree First Nation communities in
Northern Ontario.  Five Matawa First Nations are remote and are currently accessible only by air or
winter ice road. Matawa First Nations Management provides advisory services and program delivery to
Matawa First Nations.

Mushkegowuk Council has a membership of seven Cree First Nations, four in the James Bay Costal
area, and three First Nations south of the 50th parallel. It provides political advocacy and
advisory services for its member
First Nations.
The James Bay Treaty area encompasses almost two thirds of Ontario.
Declaration First Nation Signatories

 

 Mushkegowuk First Nations
Chapleau Cree First Nation
Moose Cree First Nation
Taykwa Tagamou First Nation
Missanabie Cree First Nation
Fort Albany First Nation
Kashechewan First Nation
Attawapiskat First Nation
Matawa First Nations
Aroland First Nation
Constance Lake First Nation
Ginoogaming First Nation
Long Lake #58 First Nation
Neskantaga First Nation
Nibinamik First Nation
Webequie First Nation
 


 

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