We write to address the fact that there is some misinformation circulating in the communities about the Manitoulin Project. To ensure our members have most accurate, up-to-date information, we are providing the community with in-person meetings and sharing information materials via the members portal on our website (https://mchigeeng.ca/) and through further community engagements.  The goal is to help all members know what the three claims called the “Manitoulin Project” are all about.

The opportunity to finally be compensated by Canada and to receive an apology for Crown errors of the past is all a good news story and one that is long overdue.

The First Nations on the Island launched the Manitoulin Project to remedy the mismanagement of their trust monies. The intention was to create a viable, efficient, respectful process that would move claims faster and more fairly than the existing federal system, which was averaging about twenty years between the presentation and settlement of a claim. The idea was to start small, with simple claims that could be resolved quickly, and then move toward larger claims and more complicated issues. A more efficient process would reduce costs without reducing fairness.

The Three Claims are based on the painstaking research of Elder Albert “Hardy” Peltier-baa and function as a special/unique new process to ensure the First Nations can finally be compensated for certain specific past fiduciary breaches. This is a negotiated approach and it is not a land claim. A Specific Claim was never filed. It does not involve any surrender of lands and it does not diminish your existing rights (Treaty and inherent rights, including Title). The Manitoulin Project has been a unique, out-of-court approach designed and lead by the First Nations.

The historic studies and appraisals used in the Manitoulin Project are not land valuations because this is not a land claim or a land surrender. They were trust fund reviews and they were strictly related to Canada’s mismanagement of funds owed to the trust and taken from the trust.  It took longer than hoped to finally get Canada to the table and to receive a settlement offer as the claims themselves are relatively straight-forward.

The Manitoulin Project and the potential settlement has nothing to do with land claims, title claims, governance, or sovereignty. Those matters remain separate and are to be addressed at a later date or in other processes.

Legal Counsel is working with Canada to finalize draft Settlement Agreement terms. This Settlement Agreement is a legal document that will set out the Three Claims. It will include exactly what is being settled and what is being released by accepting the compensation. Once this step is completed, First Peoples Law and UCCMM will return to the communities to present the amount of the Offer, the terms of settlement, and to share the voting ratification process.

All members will have the opportunity to review the Offer and to have the Terms of Settlement explained. The opportunity will be given to all of the UCCMM First Nations’ community members to vote on whether to accept or reject Canada’s Settlement Offer and Terms.

M’Chigeeng First Nation will commence further community information sessions on the agreement after the Canada has signed the Settlement Agreement.  Theses discussions will be the follow-up to the sessions that took place in M’Chigeeng, Sault Ste Marie, Sudbury, and Toronto. We anticipate further sessions prior to a vote to ensure membership is consulted on the Settlement Agreement.  These sessions will also allow for community discussions on the compensation, anticipated timelines, and trust options regarding the compensation that M’Chigeeng First Nation will receive.   It’s too early in the process to be able to provide information about potential settlement amounts, until all parties have agreed and signed off it.

As information becomes available, it will be posted in the members portal at https://mchigeeng.ca/ and through community engagements.  If you have not registered for members portal, please do so to ensure you have access to all the available information.  We are also encouraging all the membership to update their contact information via our website to ensure we can get the right information to you in a timely manner.  Please be advised that M’Chigeeng first nation is not requesting banking information in relation to Manitoulin Project.


Gimaa Morgen Hare