A Saskatchewan First Nation is receiving $4.5 million dollars from the federal government after a Specific Claims Tribunal ruled the government breached their lawful obligation to pay treaty annuities.
In the aftermath of the Riel Rebellion, the government withheld annuities from Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation, and 13 other First Nations around the province from 1885 to 1888.
The government believed band members were involved in the resistance.
Legal Counsel Ron Maurice said the decision could lead to other First Nations receiving their annuity payments.
“The formula, it’s relatively easy to compute; we know exactly how much money was withheld from each of those bands,” said Maurice. “I would hope (the settlement) could be done very quickly — literally within weeks if the government were to do it that way.”
The federal government can still appeal the decision.
If the decision stands, Maurice says the money will be moved to a trust fund that will be used for long term housing, education, and other community needs.
(With files from CJWW)