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Matachewan First Nation Reaches Historic Settlement on Treaty Land Entitlement Claim

Press Release

MATACHEWAN — Today, Chief Alex ‘Sonny’ Batisse of the Matachewan First Nation, Will Bouma, Parliamentary Assistant to the Ontario Minister of Indigenous Affairs on behalf of the Honourable Greg Rickford and the Honourable Gary Anandasangaree, Canada’s Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations, announced the settlement of a treaty land entitlement (TLE) claim under Treaty #9, also known as the James Bay Treaty, signed in 1906.

Treaty land entitlement claim settlements are intended to remedy circumstances where First Nations did not receive the amount of reserve land promised to them. Treaty #9 provided First Nations with 640 acres per family of five (128 acres per member). The Matachewan First Nation did not receive all the land to which it is entitled.

In 2019, Canada provided approximately $16 million in compensation and a provision for the First Nation to seek to add at least 4,572 acres to reserve. Through this agreement, Ontario will provide the Matachewan First Nation with $590,000 in compensation and 5,027.7 acres of provincial Crown land, which may be added to its reserve.

Quick Facts

  • The Matachewan First Nation is located north of the Township of Matachewan, about 60 kilometres west of Kirkland Lake and about 70 kilometres southeast of Timmins.
  • Negotiations between Ontario and the First Nation began in 2012. Public and Indigenous consultation was conducted between 2015 and 2022.
  • Canada and Matachewan First Nation reached a bilateral settlement for loss of use compensation in 2019.
  • Since the Specific Claims program began in 1973 to March 31, 2024, 702 claims, $14.9 billion in compensation, have been settled through negotiations. From January 1, 2016, to March 31, 2024, 297 claims were settled for close to $11.1 billion in compensation.
  • Ontario has been settling claims with Indigenous communities since 1983. To date, 65 land claims and other agreements have been reached. Learn more about land claims in Ontario.

Quotes

“This is a very important day for Matachewan First Nation that will better our community and allow us to prosper and grow. The settlement of our treaty land entitlement claim will benefit the community’s economic and social development in so many ways.

It is with great honour and pride to our ancestors and our future generations to come, that we have been able to right a historic wrong against the citizens of Matachewan First Nation, through the settlement of our treaty land entitlement claim.

The Settlement Agreement honours a treaty promise, and although there were many significant challenges to work through and many long years of negotiations to reach fair compensation for our treaty land entitlement claim, we are enthusiastic to move forward to complete the addition to reserve process.

We want to recognize and honour our past leadership who began this journey to bring forth justice and reconciliation, and acknowledge all parties that have made this possible, including our Elders, ancestors, and leadership (past and present), our citizens, and members of our negotiating team who have worked diligently in their commitment to finalizing the TLE settlement.”

– Chief Sonny Batisse

Matachewan First Nation

“Settling this land claim is a significant step forward in advancing reconciliation with the Matachewan First Nation. The settlement, achieved through respectful and meaningful negotiations, will enhance the economic well-being of the community, and bring greater prosperity to the region.”

– Will Bouma
Parliamentary Assistant to the Ontario Minister of Indigenous Affairs

“We recognize our responsibility to strengthen our relationships and support healthy, prosperous communities. Settling this land claim with Matachewan First Nation is an important milestone towards reconciliation.”

– Graydon Smith
Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry

“We cannot reasonably move forward with a renewed relationship without first addressing the mistakes of the past. It is my hope that this settlement agreement with Matachewan First Nation serves as a symbol of Canada’s dedication to rebuilding trust in this relationship and advancing Matachewan First Nation’s priorities. There is much more work to do, and we will continue to be a partner in building a bright future for today and for the generations to come.”

– Gary Anandasagaree
Canada’s Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

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Media Contacts

Curtis Lindsay
Office of The Honourable Greg Rickford
Ontario Minister of Indigenous Affairs
Curtis.Lindsay@ontario.ca
437-240-7317

Flavia Mussio
Communications Branch
Ministry of Indigenous Affairs
Flavia.Mussio@ontario.ca
416-574-4057

Matthieu Perrotin
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Gary Anandasangaree
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
Matthieu.Perrotin@rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
RCAANC.media.CIRNAC@sac-isc.gc.ca
819-934-2302

Cathy Yandeau
Matachewan First Nation
Lands & Resources
landsresources@mfnrez.ca
705-962-0764

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