Chief's Gather to Sign Islands of the Trent Land Claim Settlement
There was a contagious excitement in the air as the Chief and Councils of Curve Lake, Hiawatha and Mississaugas of Scugog Island gathered in Hiawatha to sign the settlement agreement between the three First Nations and the Government of Canada. Few people have seen this claim from beginning to end, but Chief Keith Knott, Mel Jacobs, Claims Coordinator, and Steve Aronson, negotiator, have been there to see the whole process unfold.
Twenty three years after the Islands of the Trent land claim was first filed, the First Nations Chief’s have finally seen all of their communities hard work pay off. As Chief Knott, Curve Lake First Nation, stated, “This is a historic day, it has been a long battle…it was joyful at times and heart wrenching at other times, but I have enjoyed every minute of it.”
After all of the agreements were signed and all of the paperwork complete there was a united celebration as Chiefs and Councils congratulated each other with hugs and handshakes. Although the First Nations have completed their end of the process, the claim will not be officially settled until the agreements are signed by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, which could take up to three months, according to Steve Aronson, therefore, each of the three First Nations should expect their share of the settlement monies near the end of the summer.
In this historic settlement the three First Nations will share $71,000,000.00 in awarded compensation after land surrounding islands were drowned during the building of the Trent Severn Waterway system.