The role of Grand Council Treaty #3 is to represent the interests of First Nations in its’ territories regarding the Ipperwash Inquiry and its’ recommendations. This inquiry was commissioned by the Ontario Government after the tragic events at the Ipperwash Provincial Park. Its’ mandate was to inquire and report on events surrounding the death of Dudley George, who was shot in 1995 during a protest at the Ipperwash Provincial Park and later died. The Inquiry was also mandated to make recommendations that would avoid violence is similar circumstances in the future.
The Honourable Sidney B. Linden was appointed commissioner. The Commissioner separated the Inquiry into two phases that ran concurrently. The evidentiary hearings that dealt with the events surrounding the death of Dudley George and the Policy Research part that dealt with issues directed to the avoidance of violence in similar circumstances. The hearings began in July of 2004 and ended in August of 2006.
After the recommendations were released in December of 2007, the Ipperwash Inquiry Priorities Action Committee (IIPAC) was formed. It is co-chaired by the Ontario Regional Chief and the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. Membership also includes political leadership from both First Nations and Ontario.
Based on the priorities identified by IIPAC, working groups were formed to
explore ways of addressing the recommendations. These working groups include participation by First Nation representatives from Chiefs of Ontario, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, Grand Council Treaty #3, Union of Ontario Indians (Anishinabek Nation), the Independent First Nations and the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and other ministries as appropriate.
Working Groups (Sub Tables)
Resource Revenue Sharing
The goal of the IIPAC RRS Sub Table is to ensure the Crown recognizes that resource revenue sharing is a Treaty right and any initiatives developed are subject to First Nation jurisdiction which must respect the autonomy of First Nation governments.
- To develop a province-wide resource revenue scheme that respects the ability of First Nation governments to determine the appropriate negotiation environment
- To equip First Nation governments with a set of tools, expertise and skills that allows for their involvement in RRS initiatives
- Determine an appropriate base line for yearly payments, which includes an elevator clause with the expectation that there will be continued discussions with individual First Nations.
The RRS initiative developed under IIPAC will not address compensation for past resource extraction from territories under First Nation jurisdiction.
Past, present and future agreements between First Nations and resource developers are in no way affected by RRS (i.e. the RRS developed under IIPAC does not replace or displace the accommodation of aboriginal and treaty rights.)
The relationship developed between the government of Ontario and First Nations under the IIPAC RRS initiative are ever evolving and in no way diminishes our overall expectations for a government to government relationship.
The IIPAC RRS Sub-Table has the responsibility of developing options for consideration by the Chiefs in Assembly and the Political Confederacy.
This is without prejudice to existing Treaty initiatives currently underway by First Nations, PTO’s and Grand Councils.
The IIPAC RRS Sub-Table technical committee to develop the following:
- Develop workplans
- Related research and analysis
- Develop option papers on authorities, mandate and structure
- Identify capacity needs and opportunities
- Liaison with federal and provincial officials.
The Ipperwash Inquiry Report called for a secure legal foundation and increased resources for First Nation policing in Ontario. The Political Confederacy and the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs agreed to work together and implement the recommendations of the inquiry to support the reconciling the relationship between First Nations and the Province of Ontario. The report made six recommendations to address to long term sustainability of First Nations police services:
- Policy reform by federal government to recognize First Nation police services as essential services within their communities;
- Develop long range plans for First Nation policing in Ontario;
- Development of a secure legislative basis for First Nation police services;
- Establishment of an Ontario First Nation Chiefs of Police Association;
- Increased capital and operational funding from Crown governments for First Nation police services secured by renewable five-year agreements
The long term goal of the Policing Sub-Table is to formulate a common set of recommendations for respective leadership bodies to support a sustainable approach to First Nation policing, including options that could secure a legislative framework and improved service delivery approaches. Under the umbrella of the IIPAC process, community safety, legislative framework and service delivery models, including to remote locations are priority items.
The Sub-Table’s workplan has four main phases:
- Information Gathering
- Community Engagement
- Finding Common Ground
- Formulate Recommendations
The Information Gathering phase will be to provide information, share perspectives and stimulate dialogue on First Nations policing key issues. It will also assist in the development of common understandings of First Nation policing issues by gathering the views and perspectives of a range of experts on issues related to First Nation policing sustainability, advancement and remote location police service delivery.
Treaty Commission of Ontario
The development of a Treaty Commission is a cornerstone recommendation of the Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry. It is being explored collaboratively under the Ipperwash Inquiry Priorities and Action Committee.
The report recommends a Treaty Commission as permanent, independent and impartial body to facilitate and oversee land claim process to ensure effectiveness, transparency and fairness in the settling of Land and Treaty claims in Ontario. It also recommended that the commission be established and operated through a tripartite process, including First Nations, Canada and Ontario.
In May of 2010, the Chiefs Advisory was established to advise the Treaty Commission of Ontario technical working group on the development of a treaty based engagement strategy, identify treaty representation, and assist First Nations to organize in their respective areas.
Members of the Chiefs Advisory Council were appointed by their respective Grand Council, Political Territorial Organization and Independent First Nations as mandated by the Chiefs in Assembly through resolution 08/65.
In April of 2011, an update of the work done to date was provided and presented to the Special Chiefs Assembly in Toronto, Ontario. Included in this update was the framework for the Treaty Commission Interim Initiative: purpose and scope, approach/method, outcomes, deliverables, roles and responsibilities, selection process, resources and timeframes.
Resolution 11/04 from the Chiefs Assembly acknowledged the framework to serve as a guide towards developing a Treaty Commission for the Government of Ontario and First Nations.
Consultation and Accommodation
The Ipperwash Inquiry Priorities and Action Committee determined that consultation and accommodation would be included in the priority issues within the implementation of the Ipperwash recommendations.
The Ipperwash Inquiry recommended that the provincial government develop policies regarding how the government can meet its duty to consult with and accommodate First Nations and incorporate these policies into provincial legislation, regulations, and other relevant government policies appropriate. It went further to state that the provincial should promote respect and understanding of the duty to consult and accommodate First Nations within relevant provincial agencies and Ontario municipalities.
This file is on-going and there are plans to have meetings with the New Relationship Fund – Consultation Officers to network and share, receiving training and new tools and indentify gaps and needs at the community level. There is a need to promote respect and understanding of the duty to consult and accommodate among First Nations, the Government of Ontario and where appropriate, other parties (e.g. agencies, municipalities, private sector).
This file will need a mandate from the Chiefs for development of principals on consultation with the Province to continue forward.
In August of 2010, the IIPAC Communications sub-table held a meeting in Toronto, Ontario. The purpose of this meeting was to identify and review new projects within the Public Awareness and Education Strategy that can be undertaken in a joint effort. This meeting indentified three projects of interest: A public service announcement, a website, and the second IIPAC newsletter.
The sub-table felt it was important to inform the public about the history of treaties, the meaning of “spirit of intent”, the unique history of treaties in Ontario and to bring the treaties into a modern context. This discussion entailed on how to approach this educational aspect to the public.
One of the means to educate the public has been the development of a newsletter. In the summer of 2010, the first newsletter from M.A.A. and C.O.O. was released. This newsletter provided comments from various First Nation leaders on the Ipperwash Inquiry and its’ recommendations. The second newsletter is being worked on and should be available in the very near future.
Capacity Building and Jurisdiction
The Sub-Table is examining recommendations regarding capacity building for First Nations in Ontario. This would enhance First Nations ability to participate in the many land claim, treaty, policy and consultation processes in Ontario. In Jurisdiction, there are no specific recommendations of First Nation Jurisdiction within the Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry, nevertheless, it is one of the priorities identified by IIPAC. Recognition of First Nations’ jurisdiction is a pervasive issue that First Nations view as a key aspect of reconciliation. Background will be undertaken to work effectively with Ontario which will include research and the development of a think tank.
There have been initial meetings within the working group (sub-table) and Ontario on these two files. Given the complex nature and difficulties surrounding these files and others, the working is group is waiting for further direction and instruction from the leadership on how to proceed on negotiations with Ontario.
For additional Information on the Ipperwash Files: