Lac Seul First Nation
Lac Seul First Nation
Membership Update Lac Seul Flood Claim
On October 23, 2018, Elders, youth and members of Chief and Council went to Ottawa to attend the hearing of LSFN’s appeal in the flood claim at the Federal Court of Appeal. A year ago, the Federal Court ruled in favour of LSFN in the Southwind v Canada case, but only awarded $30 million to the First Nation. An appeal was filed, challenging the trial judge’s decision regarding the amount owing to the First Nation.
Written legal arguments were prepared and filed by LSFN, Canada and Ontario in the spring of 2018. Once everything was received, the Federal Court of Appeal set the hearing of the appeal for October 23, 2018 in Ottawa. The appeal was argued by LSFN’s lawyers in front of a panel of three judges – Justice Nadon, Justice Gleason and Justice Webb.
The argument by LSFN’s lawyers focused on the errors that the First Nation said the trial judge made in only calculating $30 million is losses. The three judges asked significant questions about the case and challenged the arguments of both LSFN’s and Canada’s lawyers. The three judges must now write a decision that either agrees with the trial judge or overturns the trial judge’s decision about the losses to which LSFN is entitled. We would expect to receive the decision within the next 6 to 9 months.
Lac Seul Trust Agreement
Over the past year, the Chief and Council consulted the community about what to do with the $30 million that the First Nation received for the flood claim, and decided on the following actions:
* Debts owing by the First Nation were paid, leaving about $27 million
* $20 million will be set aside in a trust for the benefit of future LSFN members
* $7 million will be available for use at the discretion of Chief and Council
The trust money will be held by Royal Trust in Winnipeg and invested in conjunction with RBC for the benefit of the First Nation so that interest is earned on the trust funds. This interest will be available to be used by the First Nation, but the original amount of $20 million will be legally protected for 20 years. This will ensure that a significant amount of the $30 million that the First Nation received will be available for the next generation, while the current members benefit from the interest earned on that money and the remaining $7 million.
The Chief and Council will be signing a band council resolution officially adopting the trust agreement on November 07 2018 at 12p.m. at the Brian Brisket Memorial Complex everyone is welcome to attend.
Lac Seul First Nation (LSFN) is a community of three distinct settlements a) Frenchman’s Head, b) Kejick Bay, and c) Whitefish Bay. The current on-reserve population is about 860 with a total registered population of 3,372 (as of October 2015). Our people speak Ojibway, Oji-Cree and English. Our communities are found on the southeast shores of Lac Seul Lake and extends southward to the north shores of Lost Lake. This includes 66,248 acres of land. LSFN is about 40 kilometres from the town of Sioux Lookout, while Kejick Bay and Whitefish Bay are about 65 kilometres. While inhabited for thousands of years by our ancestors, the earliest reference in historical journals was found in that of John Long, a fur trader in 1791. He reported that our ancestors called this territory “Obijikokaang” meaning Strait of the White Pines. Subsequently, the famous Hudson’s Bay Company set up the first all-year trading post at Lac Seul in 1803 and a more permanent post one in 1815. The area was then travelled and formally mapped by Edward Umpfreville, an explorer and fur trader in the late 1800’s. Our ancestors, along with other Saulteaux and Ojibway tribes in Northwestern Ontario signed Treaty #3 in 1873 at a place called Northwest Angle, not far from Fort Frances. By signing this treaty, our forefathers surrendered their vast traditional territories to the official representative of the Canadian government. In return, our forefathers received land called “reserves” as well as “treaty rights” or “treaty status.” The treaty was signed by Chief John Cromarty, which makes our reserve the oldest reserve in the Sioux Lookout district. By 1912, there were about 45 homes along the shoreline of what are now referred to as Kejick Bay and Whitefish Bay.