Livestream Scheduled for SON Land Claim Closing Submissions

Opening arguments in the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) Land Claim were heard almost 18 months ago, in a simpler time. This year the COVID-19 pandemic caused the postponement of all in-person hearing dates until courts adopted virtual methods for holding Trials. The delays caused by the pandemic slowed the pace of the trial, but lawyers are now making submissions again, online. Closing submissions (arguments) in our landmark case will begin on Monday. October 19, 2020.

The closing submissions will be livestreamed on YouTube in response to a special request from our legal team to the Court to allow the proceedings to be streamed so that SON members could observe.  A link to the livestream will be posted daily on the website of Olthius, Kleer, Townshend, at https://www.oktlaw.com/services/cases/son_titleclaim/.

Members are invited and encouraged to tune in to this historic event.

Grey County Reaches Settlement Agreement with Saugeen Ojibway Nation

The Chief and Council are excited to announce that an agreement has been reached with Grey County, in settlement of their portion of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation’s ongoing land claim. Part of the settlement agreement will see the transfer of approximately 275 acres of forest in Georgian Bluffs, abutting Mountain Lake, from the County to the SON.

Grey County is only one of six municipalities named in our claim. If our claim is successful, the municipalities could be subject to an expensive court-ordered settlement, on top of legal costs. With this negotiated settlement, Grey County has settled their portion of our land claim. The settlement is only with Grey County. The Saugeen Ojibway Nation land claim will continue against the remaining parties.

Our land claim has only asked for the return of Crown lands not taken up by third parties, including unsold municipal lands like road allowances and shoreline allowances. We are not asking for land that is occupied, or has been sold to a third-party. It is incorrect to compare the size of the settlement to the total size of Grey County, as the vast majority of land in Grey County is already privately owned and not subject to our claim.

In fact, the settlement will transfer more than twice the amount of land that is actually being claimed by SON from Grey County.

The terms of the settlement agreement required confidentiality about the discussions and the settlement until Grey County and SON released a joint statement, as Grey County was concerned that any pre-release of information would impact negotiations and delay or derail the conclusion of this settlement.

The negotiations that led to this historic settlement were lengthy and detailed. The SON Joint Council was well advised by both legal and financial counsel, and is very pleased with the result. This settlement supports the strength of our ongoing land claim and is an important part of the movement by the Crown and its agents towards reconciliation with the Saugeen Ojibway Nation.

You can read the full press release here.