The Innu of Mashteuiatsh are preparing legal recourse against Wendake

The Innu of Mashteuiatsh are preparing legal recourse against Wendake

The Pekuakamiulnuatsh Takuhikan First Nation will compensate its members whose lands were ransacked by the Huron-Wendat Nation.

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The Innu of Mashteuiatsh are preparing a legal offensive against the Huron-Wendat Nation aimed at obtaining “reparation” after what they describe as the “ransacking” of land belonging to their members in the Laurentides wildlife reserve. Without an official apology, compensation and recognition of their rights to these latitudes, Innu Chief Gilbert Dominique rejects any dialogue with Wendake about their territorial dispute.

The affair broke out in broad daylight last month.

On June 4, two members of the Innu community accused the Huron-Wendat of having vandalized their land near the small Jacques-Cartier lake, located in the wildlife reserve between Quebec and Saguenay. Trees were felled, ongoing developments were destroyed and access to said land was blocked with trenches, they reported.

Near the land, a poster was affixed by the Council of the Huron-Wendat Nation, stating that it was forbidden to settle on their exclusive territory.

Claudie Paul of Mashteuiatsh provided this photo of a note warning that the work she had undertaken was not were not allowed.

Describing the actions as criminals, the Grand Chief of Mashteuiatsh, Gilbert Dominique, sent a formal notice three days later to the Council of the Huron-Wendat Nation, demanding the immediate rehabilitation of the land.

In response to this missive, Grand Chief Rémy Vincent called for dialogue, but did not respond formally to the Innu's request.

Failing to receive such compensation, official apologies and recognition of rights [on the territory], the Innu of Mashteuiatsh decided to compensate their members themselves and to proceed with the work necessary to restore the land.

But they won't stop there, promises chef Dominique. Two weeks after the deadline set in their formal notice, the Innu brandished the legal threat.

Le chef du Mashteuiatsh Band Council, Gilbert Dominique, seeks redress.

The Pekuakamiulnuatsh Takuhikan First Nation has mandated its attorneys to take appropriate legal action against the Huron-Wendat Nation and restore justice. The analysis of the possible remedies is currently in progress, it is written in a notice sent to the community last week.

For Chief Gilbert Dominique, the conditions are not met to start a conversation on the sharing of the territory, as requested by his Huron-Wendat counterpart Rémy Vincent.

“The Pekuakamiulnuatsh Takuhikan First Nation has remained open to dialogue about the common use of this portion of the territory for the practice of traditional activities. In the current circumstances, this cannot be done without compensation for the damage caused to our members. »

— Excerpt from the notice sent to the Innu community of Mashteuiatsh

According to the notice, the details surrounding the chosen remedy will be known quickly.

Chief Gilbert Dominique intends to confirm the legal remedies of the Pekuakamiulnuatsh First Nation in the coming days, with the necessary details and nuances, can we read in the text dated July 7.

Reached on Monday, the Pekuakamiulnuatsh Takuhikan First Nation had no new details to provide and declined to comment.

Le Conseil de la Nation huronne- Wendat, for its part, learned of the intention of the Innu in the notice to the community, and not by official missive. Since early June, the chiefs had so far exchanged letters.

Grand Chief Rémy Vincent asks Gilbert Dominique to “open the books” to determine how the Laurentides wildlife reserve will be decided. As long as the demonstration is not made, he claims his exclusive use for his nation.

Facing possible legal recourse, the great chief Rémy Vincent preferred not to not comment.

Two weeks ago, in an interview with Radio-Canada, he invited chef Gilbert Dominique to sit down at his table to open the dialogue. I would like the Innu party to be responsible, to come and sit down with us and for us to finally get this straightened out. If there is really historical, archaeological evidence that is satisfactory, well, we will sign a treaty and we will draw a line, he said in particular.

Note that in addition to the threats of legal action, the Sûreté du Québec is still investigating the events of June.

This new stage of the conflict stems from a territorial dispute that dates back several years.

Wendake, for its part, claims exclusive use of the Laurentides wildlife reserve, which is located in the heart of Nionwentsïo, the name given to the ancestral Huron-Wendat territory.

According to the Conseil de la Nation huronne-wendat, this claim was mostly respected until 2004. That year, the provincial and federal governments, as well as four Innu nations, including Mashteuiatsh, signed an agreement to general order.

The latter laid the foundations for the claim of the Innu ancestral territory.

Through the 2004 agreement, the Innus of Mashteuiatsh are also claiming ancestral rights to these latitudes. Permits were therefore issued by the band council to allow members to set up camps in what they call the southwestern part of Nitassinan.

Enlarge image

On this map, the blue portion is the southwestern part claimed by the Innu and is located in the heart of Nionwentsïo , ancestral territory of the Huron-Wendat Nation outlined in red.

The Council of the Huron-Wendat Nation has long denounced the vagueness surrounding these territories. Rémy Vincent's predecessor, Grand Chief Konrad Sioui, had seized the Federal Court so that the situation could be clarified and lines finally drawn.

Canada must engage without delay in serious and in-depth discussions with the claimant [the Huron-Wendat Nation] with a view to reconciling to the greatest extent possible and to a manner consistent with the honor of the Crown the differences between the Huron-Wendat Nation and the First Nations of Mashteuiatsh and the Innu of Essipit as to the territory that should be covered [the agreement], ruled a judge in December 2014.

The work, to date, is not complete and the boundaries have not yet been drawn.

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