Algonquins of Ontario Treaty Negotiations

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

November 2007

What is this claim and the negotiations all about?

The Algonquins of Ontario (“Algonquins”) have Aboriginal rights and title to lands within the Ottawa River and Mattawa River watersheds in Ontario – rights and title which have never been surrendered.

The Algonquin Nation has owned, used and occupied the Algonquin Territory since long before the first European contact. That occupation – historically recognized by the Crown – gives rise both in common law and Algonquin law to ownership in the form of aboriginal title, as well as particular aboriginal rights. It also gives rise to human rights as described by international law.

Algonquin petitions to the Crown on this issue date back to 1772. The current claim was formally submitted to the Government of Canada in 1983 and the Government of Ontario in 1985 by the Algonquins of Pikwŕkanagŕn (“Pikwŕkanagŕn”) (known at the time as the Algonquins of Golden Lake). After conducting historical and legal reviews, the Province of Ontario accepted the claim for negotiations in 1991 and the Government of Canada joined the negotiations in 1992.

The Algonquins, Ontario and Canada (“the parties”) are now negotiating a settlement of this claim against the Crown which, if successful, will lead to an Algonquin Treaty. Such a treaty must assure the survival of the Algonquin people with elements that address, among other things, ownership of lands, rights and management obligations regarding natural resources (e.g., hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering rights, etc.), money and economic opportunities, and/or initiatives to promote the survival of Algonquin culture.

What area is included in the claim?

The Algonquin Traditional Territory in Ontario is an area of over 9 million acres (14,000 square miles) within the watersheds of the Ottawa and Mattawa Rivers. The area that is the subject of the Algonquin/Nippissing claim includes the National Capital Region and most of Algonquin Park .

What are the steps in the process?

The land claim negotiation is following a process which, if successful, will ultimately lead to the signing of a Treaty with the governments of Ontario and Canada. The general steps in this process include:

1.    Organization of the Algonquins of Ontario, including registration of individual Algonquins (whether status or non-status, on-reserve or off-reserve) and the election of Algonquin Negotiation Representatives (“ANRs”), to allow the voices of Algonquins throughout the territory to be heard at the negotiation table;

2.    Identification of local and national Algonquin issues and the setting of Algonquin objectives for the resolution of the claim;

3.    Substantive negotiations with the governments of Ontario and Canada with the goal of reaching an Agreement in Principle (“AIP”);

4.    Ratification of the AIP by (i) the Algonquin people; (ii) the provincial government; and (iii) the federal government. This stage will result in an “Algonquin Treaty” which will define the respective rights and obligations of all three parties; and

5.    Implementation of the terms of the Treaty according to a plan to be mutually developed and agreed to by the parties.

Why negotiate?

The parties believe that the best way to resolve this claim is to work together to find common solutions through a productive negotiation process. The alternative might well involve lengthy and adversarial litigation, in which the final outcome would be subject to a decision of the courts.

Who will benefit from an Algonquin Treaty?

It is expected that this process will provide the foundation for cultural and economic prosperity of all Algonquins in Ontario, whether status, non-status, on-reserve or off-reserve.

All the people of Canada will benefit in securing an honourable and lasting treaty with the Algonquin people. In addition, since many Algonquins live in communities comprised of Algonquins and non-Algonquins alike, it is expected that non-Algonquins living within Algonquin Territory will also benefit from any resolution of this claim.

Who represents the Algonquin people in the negotiations?
How will they be involved?

The Algonquins of Ontario include: Antoine, Snimikobi (Ardoch), Bancroft, Bonnechere, Greater Golden Lake, Mattawa/North Bay, Ottawa, Pikwŕkanagŕn, Shabat Obajiwan (Sharbot Lake) and Whitney.

Representatives of each Community of Algonquins are serving as Algonquin Negotiation Representatives (“ANRs”). Pikwŕkanagŕn is represented by six members of Council and its Chief. The other Communities of Algonquins are each represented by an ANR who has been elected through a democratic election to serve a three year term (expiring in May 2008).

The ANRs have sought and continue to seek input from the Algonquin people. Any agreement will require ratification by the Algonquin people.

What is happening in the negotiations now?

Currently the ANRs, with advice and assistance of a Technical Advisory Group (“TAG”), are preparing for substantive negotiations with the governments. Negotiations are expected to resume in earnest this fall (fall 2007).

One aspect of the preparations for these negotiations is the preparation of an Economic Development Plan (“EDP”).

The ANRs have identified certain central objectives of the EDP (and of the Algonquin people more generally), including:

                    a.                survival of the Algonquin culture,

                   b.                 reaffirming the honour and pride of the Algonquin people; and

                    c.                awareness among non-Algonquin people for the Algonquin culture.

The ANRs understand that in order to achieve these objectives, and for any Treaty to receive popular approval of the Algonquin people, the EDP and ultimately the Treaty will need to be designed to address at least three key elements:

1.    Internal integrity of the Algonquin Nation and Algonquin culture, which will require:

o   Programs and other efforts to promote the Algonquin culture (survival of the Algonquins); and

o   Algonquin Government sufficient to preserve our own cultural integrity;

2.    External integrity of the Algonquin Nation and Algonquin culture, which will require:

o   Real participation at both the decision-making and operational levels with respect to the management of natural resources and unpatented lands in the territory and major developmental changes to the region – this is Algonquin Territory and the Algonquin Nation needs to have real and tangible influence over its future;

o   Positive efforts to educate non-Algonquins regarding the traditional attachment of the Algonquins to the land and resources of Algonquin Territory and to improve the image of the Algonquin people / culture and the attitude of non-Algonquins towards them; and

o   Reconciliation of the relationship(s) of the Algonquins with the governments of Ontario and Canada .

3.    Economic opportunity, which will require:

o   Coordinated, integrated efforts to significantly improve the well-being of the Algonquin people in the region and to provide the mechanisms which are required for the development of economic opportunities – without economic opportunity, no culture can survive.

It is the hope and expectation of the ANRs that this process will lead to an Agreement in Principle, and ultimately a Treaty between the Algonquins of Ontario and the governments of Ontario and Canada which will ensure the survival and prosperity of the Algonquin Nation, Algonquin culture and the Algonquin people.

What’s next?

The ANRs and the TAG are working hard to prepare for the resumption of substantive negotiations this fall (2007).

It is impossible to say how long it will take, except to say that it is not going to happen overnight. It is important to take the time and care necessary to develop approaches that will work and an agreement that can be effectively implemented and stand the test of time.

If I own property in the land claim area,
how will a future settlement affect me?

It remains the Algonquin objective that innocently acquired private property should not be expropriated to settle this claim and the rights of private land owners to make use of and access to their land will be protected.  Local interests and the concerns of directly affected parties will be taken into account during the negotiation process. Any privately-held land that might form part of a settlement package will be transferred only if there is both a willing seller and a willing buyer.

What will a final settlement look like?

The final settlement agreement will bring certainty and finality to the issues under negotiation in a form that satisfies all three parties. The agreement is expected to take the form of a modern-day treaty and the rights of the Algonquins under it will receive constitutional protection. It will clarify interests in lands in the region and give legal force to a lasting and comprehensive settlement of all outstanding issues.

Land Claim Negotiations: Quick Facts

         The Canadian Constitution recognizes and affirms Aboriginal and treaty rights that now exist or that may be acquired by way of land claim agreements. The Supreme Court of Canada has established that Aboriginal rights include those practices, customs and traditions that were integral to the culture of a historic Aboriginal people. These rights may include such things has hunting, fishing and gathering.

         There are areas in Canada where Aboriginal peoples claim that their Aboriginal rights and title have not been dealt with by treaty or in any other legal way. To address this fact, the negotiation of modern treaties was established by the Government of Canada in 1973. Since then, over 19 modern treaties have been negotiated across the country. These treaties (mostly in northern Québec and the three territories) involve over 90 Aboriginal communities with over 70,000 members. Negotiations are ongoing across the country at various stages of negotiations and levels of activity.

         The Government of Canada established its various claims policies and processes for resolving claims through negotiations in 1973. Ontario set up a process for resolving Aboriginal land claims in the early 1980s.

         Private property is not normally expropriated to settle claims and the rights of private land owners to make use of and to access their land are protected. Local interests and the concerns of directly affected parties are taken into account during the negotiation process.

         By clarifying land and resource ownership, claims settlements create a stable and positive climate for economic investment and development on both Aboriginal lands and in surrounding communities. Modern-day treaty making promotes partnerships as well as economic benefits. In addition, it builds a new and more progressive relationship with Aboriginal peoples for today’s world and into the future.


Algonquin Petition of June 6, 1835

            To His Excellency, Major General Sir John Colborne Knight Commander of the Most Honorable Military Order of the Bath, Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Upper Canada, etc., etc., etc.

The humble Memorial of the Chiefs and Warriors of the Algonquin and Nipissingue Indians, in the Name of themselves and their respective Nations, Tribes, and-Kindred,

Most respectfully represent,

That we, the Indian Chiefs and Warriors who now most respectfully approach your Excellency, do for ourselves and our respective Nations, Tribes, and Kindred, humbly and obediently implore your Excellency as our temporal Father and Protector, to vouchsafe your gracious Intention to and Consideration of this the humble Memorial of the Grievances and Deprivations which we your Red Children have long endured patiently and submissively without Complaint, under the Conviction, however, that those Grievances, now becoming more and more burdensome, when made known to your Excellency our Father would obtain Retribution, Justice and Equity having ever been co-ordinate with the Government over which you continue so meritoriously to preside.

We most humbly beg to expose to your Excellency our Father, that we and our Ancestors have immemorially, or from the remotest Antiquity, held, used, occupied, possessed, and enjoyed as Hunting Grounds the Tract of Land lying on either Side of the River Ottawa and Little Rivers as far as Lake Nipissing, that is to say, comprehending both Banks of the River Ottawa and of the River Matawangue, called by the Voyageurs the Little River, to the Height of Land separating the Waters of the Lake Nipissing from those of. the Little River, together with the Countries Watered by several tributary streams of the River Ottawa and Little Rivers running North and South from their Sources. The above tract of land is bounded to the southward by a ridge of land separating the waters which fall into the Lakes and into the River St. Lawrence from those failing to the - Northward and into the River Ottawa. The Distance from the Township of Hawksbury (Pointe D'Original) to Lake Nipissingue by Canoe Navigation is computed at 117 Leagues, 100 of which comprise the River Ottawa to the junction of the Little River, with the River Matawangue. The actual Settlement at present by the Whites extending from the said Township of Hawksbury to the last settlement inclusive --

That our Great Father George III, of glorious Memory, by his Royal Proclamation given at the Court of St. James the 17th Day of October 1763, promulgated to us your Red Children, and the other Indian Tribes of North America, by the Honorable Sir William Johnson, Bart, our Great Father's Superintendent of Indian Affairs, in a Proclamation dated at Johnson Hall on the 24th Day of December 1763, did expressly declare and provide, "That the Lands claimed by the Indians as their Hunting Grounds are reserved to them for that Purpose, and that they shall not under any Pretence whatever be molested or disturbed in the Possession thereof unless they should be inclined to dispose of the same;" in which Case it is further declared and provided, "that the same shall be purchased for our Great Father in His Royal Name at some public Meeting or Assembly to held for that Purpose by the Governor or Commander in Chief."

Now, may it please your Excellency our Father, extensive Grants have been made, and converted or erected into Townships and Settlements for the Whites, by your Excellency's Predecessors, of the Territory so immemorially held, used, occupied, possessed, and enjoyed by us your Red Children as Hunting Grounds, without regard to and notwithstanding the Provisions of the above Royal Proclamation of our Great Father, no Purchase or Compensation for the Lands so taken and dismembered from our Hunting Grounds ever having been made of or to us or any of our Tribes, Nations, or Kindred, although in all similar instances where Lands claimed by contemporary Tribes in Upper Canada have been required by our Great Father, the same have been uniformly purchased at a stipulated price or for some certain compensation in obedience to the above Royal Proclamation of our Great Father.

That it may please your Excellency our Father, We the Algonquin and Nipissingue Indians do not possess any Lands yielding to us any Revenue and hence are solely dependent upon the Chase on our Hunting Grounds for support and Maintenance, and although your Red Children have not failed to view the progressive Settlement by the Whites of our Hunting Grounds from the Township of Hawksbury to the last Settlement inclusive as a Forgetfulness of the above Royal Proclamation of our Great Father, we have nevertheless abstained hitherto from preferring any Representation on the Subject to the Government whereof your Excellency our Father is now at the Head, but observing that the present rapidly increasing Settlement of the Upper Province, and of that Part thereof comprehending the Hunting Grounds of your Red Children lying on the South Side of the River Ottawa, and that the indiscriminate and wanton Destruction by the Whites or new Settlers of the Beaver and other Animals from which the most valuable Furs are derived will ere long annihilate our Chase and deprive us of the sole means which have hitherto been the support of our Tribes from long and immemorial Custom, we are irresistibly compelled to supplicate the Aid and Protection of your Excellency our Father touching our humble claim to reasonable Indemnification for the Lands on the South Side of the River Ottawa, thus dismembered from our Hunting Grounds without Purchase or Compensation [notwithstanding the above Royal Proclamation of] our Great Father the King.

That, may it please your Excellency our Father, we your Red Children of the Tribes of the Algonquin and Nipissingue Indians do not presume or venture to entertain the Belief that the Lands already dismembered from our Hunting Grounds, and converted and erected into Townships for Settlement by the Government over which your Excellency our Father now presides, will be restored to us but we do believe that a fair and reasonable Compensation for the Lands lying on the South Side of the River Ottawa so dismembered from our Hunting Grounds will be allowed and conceded unto us in obedience to the above Royal Proclamation of our Great Father. And we do humbly and confidently appeal to your Excellency our Father to ratify and confirm to us your Red Children the Use, Occupation, and Possession of the Hunting Grounds on the South Side of the River Ottawa which yet are reserved to us, and that in case we, your Red Children, or our Descendants may at any Time hereafter be inclined to dispose of the said Lands, that the same be purchased for our Great Father in His Royal Name at such public Meeting or Assembly of the Indians to be held for that Purpose. And moreover we humbly pray that your Excellency our Father will be pleased to command, by Proclamation or otherwise, that all Intruders or Squatters do forthwith depart from and leave undisturbed and unmolested the Hunting Grounds yet reserved to and possessed by your Red Children, the whole in obedience to the above Royal Proclamation of our Great Father.

We do by this our Memorial humbly submit to your Excellency our Father the foregoing Representation of the Grievances land Deprivations which we your Red Children have endured and are likely to endure from the gradual Dismemberment of our Hunting Grounds, possessed by us immemorially, and reserved and confirmed to us by the above Royal Proclamation of our Great Father of glorious Memory; and while we humbly recall to Your Excellency Our Father that our Tribes have respectively been distinguished for Fidelity, Bravery, and general good Conduct and Attachment to the Royal Cause of our Great Father, particularly during the American Rebellion, we do yet wholly repose on the Wisdom of your Excellency our Father, to whom we humbly pray for the Redress of our Grievances and Deprivations, and for the Dispensation of justice and Equity touching the same.

And as in Duty bound we your Red Children will every pray.



Francs. Ka-on-tinoKetch

Ign. Mai-ya-was-ka-watch

J. Bte. Keijic-o-manitou


Ignace Cha-wa-na-bais

Ant. Paki-na-wa-tick


Fr. Mi-co-nabais

Fr. Ojick





etc., etc., etc. .......



S. Takwa-nin


etc., etc., etc. .......


Montreal 6th June 1835
I certify that this is a true & correct copy -

J. Hughes
S. nd. Dept.

[Reference: P.A.C., R.G. 10, Vol. 96, pp. 39561-39566] Canada Archives

Turtle Island

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Changes last made on: November 3, 2007.