Niibin 2022 RHW-RHTLF Newsletter

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Treaty Billboards Robinson Huron Waawiindamaagewin (RHW) is happy to announce that we have launched our Treaty Billboard initiative. We are starting with 10 billboards being installed in the territory this summer. The billboards honour Anishinaabe Territory throughout Robinson Huron Treaty (RHT) Lands. Earl Commanda, Executive Director of RHW, says, “These billboards and signage acknowledging our treaty area is an initiative of RHW to foster significant historical recognition for settler citizens on the importance of the RHT of 1850. The billboards are also a reminder that our territory is protected by the treaty with the Crown for our people as we continue to assert our rights to continue to hunt, fish, trap and gather—activities we have done since time immemorial for our sustainable development. The Treaty Territory signage is meant to create awareness for settlers and re-affirm our relationship to the land as the Creator instructed us to do based on our worldview and teachings.” The messaging of our billboards was developed with our leadership and the design was created by our graphic artist Melanie Laquerre. We hope to honour our Treaty Lands by recognizing our territory. Though we started our project with 10 signs throughout the territory, we hope to add more to our communities in the future. We are also working on official highway signs. Our policy team is in discussions with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) to have RHT provincial highway signs throughout RHT Lands.

RHTLF Update

These signs would be different from our billboards and would be similar to those you see around Wahta Territory, the blue official highway signs. Sam Manitowabi, our Senior Policy Analyst, has been coordinating the highway sign project. Sam says, “On a more serious note, MTO highway signs are important as they acknowledge our existence, that we are still here. The signs represent an opportunity for all travellers to know whose territory they are visiting or travelling through. For too long have we been ignored. If our existence is not recorded or acknowledged, it makes it easier to displace us, to encroach on our territory. We hope to see signage throughout our territory soon.” If you have any ideas for billboards or sign locations, please contact us at

Litigation Timeline

News and Events



Robinson Huron Treaty First Nations once again urge Premier Ford to focus on negotiations by suspending Ontario’s appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada On June 23, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision to proceed with hearing Ontario’s appeal of the Robinson Treaties annuity case. Now, the Robinson Huron Treaty Litigation Fund (RHTLF) call on Premier Ford to honour the promise he made during his election campaign to negotiate a settlement of the Robinson Treaties Annuity case. The RHTLF further urges the Premier to put the appeal into abeyance to allow the parties to negotiate a settlement of the longstanding case.

“Ontario’s appeal is disappointing,” said Chief Duke Peltier of Wikwemikong First Nation. The Supreme Court of Canada has granted Ontario the opportunity to argue its appeal despite the findings of the trial judge that the best outcome for the annuity case is for the parties to negotiate a settlement of the claim, a decision which was supported by the Ontario Court of Appeal. Canada did not appeal and has committed to negotiate a settlement of the case. “Ontario’s appeal is disappointing,” said Chief Duke Peltier of Wikwemikong First Nation. He noted that it potentially delays reconciliation and prolongs the denial of justice for the Robinson Huron Treaty beneficiaries who have been waiting over a century and a half to benefit from the promises set out in the treaty for resource revenue sharing. The initial trial concluded that the Crown has a mandatory and reviewable obligation to increase the Treaties’ annuities when the economic circumstances warrant reflecting a fair share of the value of the net Crown resource-based revenues generated from the territory.

The Judgement went on to say that the treaty parties should negotiate a settlement, noting that the Anishinaabe and the Crown have an opportunity to determine what roles those historic promises will play in shaping their modern treaty relationship. The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the trial decision and also encouraged the parties to negotiate a settlement. The majority decision of the Court of Appeal strongly urged the parties to negotiate a modern agreement for the implementation of the Treaty, finding that this is more likely to produce a strong, renewed Treaty relationship and that true reconciliation will not be achieved in the courtroom. “Regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision to grant leave of appeal to Ontario, we fully expect the Court to come to a similar conclusion that the Crown promise for resource revenue sharing is an enforceable obligation and encourage reconciliation through a negotiated settlement,” said Chief Dean Sayers of Batchewana First Nation. The case is scheduled to proceed to stage 3 in October with the focus being on determining the value of the compensation owed and the respective liabilities of Canada and Ontario. “It is a fundamental value of the Anishinaabe, and we believe it to be a fundamental value of Canadians that when the government, when the leadership of the community, makes promises to the people, the government must keep those promises” said Chief Sayers. “Stage 3 of the case must proceed, we have heard the support from the Canadian public of fair compensation for our lands and we are optimistic about the stage 3 proceedings.”


Litigation Timeline



Key Dates

Fall 2022 The Stage Three Trial dates are currently set to begin in Fall 2022. The Stage Three Trial will consider all remaining issues, including the amount of compensation, if any, is owed to the First Nations plaintiffs.

January 4, 2022 Ontario brings an Application for Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. The Supreme Court has not yet decided if it will hear Ontario’s Appeal.

June 1-3, 2021 The Ontario Court of Appeal heard Ontario’s appeal of the Stage Two decision. Canada has not appealed.

June 26, 2020 Stage Two Trial Decision: Justice Hennessy, again, ruled in favour of the RHT and RST First Nations, finding the plaintiffs’ claims are not barred by Ontario’s limitations legislation and that Ontario does not benefit from the doctrine of Crown immunity.

September 25, 2017

June 23, 2022 The Supreme Court of Canada releases its decision to proceed with hearing Ontario’s appeal of the Robinson Treaties annuity case.

November 5, 2021 Ontario Court of Appeal releases its decision on the Stage One and Two appeals. The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld Justice Hennessy’s interpretation of the augmentation clause and rejected Ontario’s technical defences.

April 13-28, 2021 The Ontario Court of Appeal heard Ontario’s appeal of the Stage One decision. Canada did not appeal.

December 21, 2018 Stage One Trial Decision: The Court rules that the Crown has a mandatory and reviewable constitutional obligation to increase the annuity to reflect the economic value the Crown receives from the Treaty Territory.

Stage 1 begins with opening statement of RHT plaintiffs.


2012 Notice of claim filed.

Formation of the RHT Litigation Fund.

July 1764 Council of Niagara, 1700 Indigenous inhabitants gathered, a diplomatic exercise where the British sought to renew and strengthen the Covenant Chain.

February 10, 1763 Signing of Treaty of Paris.

September 9, 1850 Signing of the Robinson Huron Treaty.

October 7, 1763 Royal Proclamation set out the principles for treaty making, Declaration of the Crown, affirmed Aboriginal title and ownership of lands.



News and Events SAVE the DATE:

TREATY GATHERING 2022 Restoring the Balance from SEPTEMBER 7 to 9, 2022 Robinson Huron Waawiindamaagewin and the Robinson Huron Treaty Litigation Fund invite you to join us for the 2022 Treaty Gathering to be held in Nipissing First Nation and co-hosted by Dokis First Nation. The hybrid event will feature guest speakers and information booths. Learn all about the Treaty, Annuities Case and the Treaty Governance.

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