Q: Why are you making this claim?
A: The Madawaska Maliseet First Nation (MMFN) is one of Canada’s most progressive Indigenous communities, and is on a determined path to self-government. The MMFN has been formally seeking recognition for the validity of its specific claim against the Government of Canada (“Canada”) relating to certain lands for nearly 20 years – although the history of the MMFN claim dates back over 250 years. Canada established an updated Specific Claims Tribunal (SCT) process in 2008 – and MMFN is finally at the hearing stage. For the sake of the community, and moving forward to self-government, we look forward to a resolution of the claim in the coming months.
Q: What land are you claiming?
A: The easiest way to put it is by showing you a map. As you will have read on the page about our claim, the lands on the Boundaries Survey completed by George Sproule in 1787 with the notation: “The Indians require the tract of Land within the red Lines to be reserved for their use. Except Kelly’s Lot,” – is the area our claim concerns. This would include most of the City of Edmundston and the current reserve.
Q: Can the government take my land away to settle this claim?
A: No. This claim deals with land that was never ceded to the crown. The Specific Claims Tribunal process deals with monetary compensation only, and has a cap on the total amount that can be received by a claimant.
Q: How long will this claim take?
A: Good question, we wish we knew exactly, too! So far, the MMFN has been working to make the case for a specific claim for more than 20 years. The current SCT process is moving along at a pace now where – we hope – we will be in a position to be dealing with the question of compensation before 2017 is finished.
Q: How much money are you seeking?
A: The cap under the SCT process is for $150 million. There is a valuation-based process which takes place once a claim is determined to be valid, and the claimant moves to the stage of compensation.
Q: What will you do with the money you get?
A: Our community is on the path to self-government. With whatever compensation we are eventually paid, we will continue to deal with the priorities of the members of our First Nation – from housing to many other needs. We look forward to continuing to pursue a path of economic growth, and realizing opportunities, in partnership with the City of Edmundston and all our neighbours and community and business partners.
Q: Is this about finding & casting blame?
A: This is about resolving a key part of our history, so we can move forward as a community. This is about procedural fairness, and living up to historical agreements, on behalf of the institution of the Government of Canada. This is not about families who were granted lots as individuals.