MCFN Court proceedings Feb. 8 – 12, 2016
Written and submitted by: Jackie Fletcher
February 10, 2016
Judge: Honourable Thomas R. Lederer
MCFN lawyers: Ron Maurice, William (Bill) Henderson & Ryan Lake
Provincial lawyers: Richard Ogden, Manizeh Fancy & Vanessa Glasser
Federal Lawyers: Michael Beggs, Jodi McFetridge
Day 1: Opening position from the MCFN, PROVINCE AND FEDS to the court:
Judge Lederer – set the parameters of how the process would flow
Ron Maurice - MCFN
Jean-Phillipe Chartrand – Province
Alexander Von Gehert – Federal
Day 2 - 5: Joint Expert Team presentations of evidence to the court
MCFN Joan (Lovesek) Holmes
Prov. Jean-Phillipe Chartrand
Feds. Alexander Von Gernet
The team met prior to court to agree to a joint information presentation agenda was in 11 points and near the end allowed for MCFN a chance to cross examine what was presented
March 8 – 12: each team member will be presenting individual research to the court
March 7, 2016: Date when lawyers present their arguments
March ……Judge then decides how long he will take to render his decision
“I asked Bill Henderson what approach the judge would use to present his decision and he told me he could call everyone back to the court, do a telephone call or send a fax. No way of knowing.” - Jackie
Court room was set up with monitors and a big map of the treaty commissioners travel line
First day the Judge went over the resumes of each presenter to show credentials and he cautioned all to remain unbiased when presenting their information
When the experts gave their information they cited from the diaries of the commissioners as well as their own joint research references, map of hunting areas and family names around Moose Factory and displayed these documents as they were speaking
Was very hard to hear the judge because he did not have a microphone and spoke low, sometimes with his hand in front of his mouth
When the joint expert group presented, they were facing the audience and so we could hear them
Ex. Committee in attendance was Chief Gauthier and Councillors McLeod and Nolan, Band Manager, Cathy Clement and Laura Lee Rawlyk (MCFN/Elder Liaison)
Band members: Brian Rawlyk, Kathy Beaudry, Terri-Lou Fletcher, Jackie Fletcher, Greg Fletcher, June Markie, Shawn Pine, Robert Pine, Margaret Bergeron and grandson, Carol Jeffries, B.G. Fletcher. (my apologies if I forgot someone)
It was very disturbing, when the joint expert presentation was being made, to see how the commissioners decided to do things when they were making treaty in the Treaty 9 area in 1905 and 1906. They would be consistent for the first three or four First Nations and then do things differently for the next two and so on. Sometimes their approach would be a “meet and pay” where the commissioners would meet the heads of families and pay them annuity and gratuity to the tune of $8.00 or there was a “five step process”
Notification to people that the commissioners would be coming
An election of Chief and Council(ers) would be held
Treaty would be signed
Feast would occur
Flag and copy of the Treaty would be presented
This is the first time we see that our people got involved with the term “Chief and Council”. We never had that system. We did have “spokespersons or headmen”.
For the most part the reserve formula was followed “one square mile for a family of five” but they certainly dropped that when they were coming to the railway reserves
They eventually adopted a pay list process for each community because they were paying people twice and mixing up Ojibwes and Crees
When they got to Biscotasing (first railway people) they talked about “stragglers” coming from the Spanish River Robinson Huron area (Ojibwe), Flying Post (Crees) and Mattagami. There was no pay list at Bisco.
They referred to us as the “Moose Factory Indians living at Missanabie”, and then “Missanabie Cree Indians” Commissioner Stewart’s diary lists 98 Moose Factory Indians living at Missanabie were paid and later on goes on to say that the 98 were Crees and Ojibwes.
When they got to Missanabie it was a total mix up. They lumped us in with the Ojibwe’s of Michipicoten several times and at one point believed IR62 was a Missanabie Cree reserve.
So many inconsistencies that sometimes the judge would be scratching and shaking his head.
As I sat and watched the proceedings each day I couldn’t help but notice that all these non-native people are still making decisions on our behalf
They even use the court process to point out all of their inequities and inconsistencies which is good for us
Not sure how it is all going to turn out but the court costs will be taken care of no matter how long it takes. I could add a lot more but there is so much so if you want to know more I can tell you what’s in my notes
We need to pray that it comes out in our favor as our lawyers seem to believe. I am glad I attended to see the process and would like to be there for the lawyers arguments on March 7, but no monies.