The history fo the MMFN claim dates back over 250 years
Research to establish the claim, under the slow, under-resourced process in place at the time, began in 1996. Based on this research, a claim was submitted to the Federal Government in 1998.
This claim was not a “comprehensive claim”, but rather a “specific claim” – which covers a specific area of land, territory which was never formally ceded to the Crown.
The then-Minister of Indian Affairs sent a letter rejecting the MMFN Claim on January 13, 2009, after taking over 10 years to review and assess the matter.
However, the Government of Canada made changes to how Indigenous communities had claims adjudicated by establishing the Specific Claims Tribunal (SCT) on October 16, 2008.
This is how Canada explains the SCT process:
“The term “specific claims” generally refers to monetary damage claims made by a First Nation against the Crown regarding the administration of land and other First Nation assets and to the fulfillment of Indian treaties that have not been accepted for negotiation or that have not been resolved through a negotiated settlement within a specified time frame.”
You can read more about the SCT here.
As the MMFN experienced, claims made prior to this took a long time to be dealt with, and the process was not very transparent. This new process was better resourced in 2011, when independent Judges began to get appointed to adjudicate the claims. The MMFN submitted its claim under this process in 2012, and one of the SCT judges was assigned to it.
You can read all the documents filed in our claim here.
The claim submitted in 2012 is derived in large part from documents created by George Sproule, then-Surveyor-General of New Brunswick, in the late 1780s and early 1790s.
For the sake of the community, and moving forward to self-government, MMFN looks forward to a resolution of the claim in the coming months.
Where the MMFN Claim is in the process:
There is an SCT hearing in Edmundston beginning May 15th.
This hearing will begin to deal with the “validity” of the MMFN claim, since the process was bifurcated – which is another way to say broken into stages. The hearings in May are the more evidentiary stage, while the legal arguments will be presented during the next hearing (likely in June or July) in Edmundston.
A determination of the compensation to be paid will be the following step, if – as the MMFN believes it will be – the claim is determined by the SCT to be valid.