Saugeen Shores and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) are working together to finalize an agreement settling Saugeen Shore’s involvement in SON’s long-standing legal action in relation to parts of the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula.
Once final, the agreement will settle a claim launched by SON approximately 25 years ago. The claim went to trial in 2019, and closing arguments were heard in October 2020. To date, no decision has been released.
Saugeen Shores and SON continue to work through the details of the settlement agreement, and view this as a positive step towards fostering further cooperation and reconciliation between Saugeen Shores and SON.
“We look forward to continuing to moving forward with our neighbours in the spirit of cooperation,” said Chief Lester Anoquot (Saugeen First Nation) about discussions regarding an out of court resolution with Saugeen Shores.
Head Councillor Anthony Chegahno (Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation) echoed that: “These talks are a positive step towards reconciliation and part of building strong relationships with local governments in our traditional territory.”
The Mayor of the Town of Saugeen Shores, Luke Charbonneau commented “The Town is very pleased with the positive progress towards settling this long standing land claim. We look forward to our continued work with our friends and neighbours at SON on this settlement. I hope this is the beginning of a path forward for our communities to build a stronger shared future.”
More details respecting the settlement will become available once it has been finalized.
For media inquiries contact:
Saugeen Ojibway Nation Environment Office
Kurt Kivell, Communications Manager
Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP (legal counsel to Saugeen Ojibway Nation)
Cathy Guirguis, Partner
Town of Saugeen Shores
Kara Van Myall, Chief Administrative Officer
Donnelly Murphy Lawyers PC (legal counsel to the Town of Saugeen Shores)
Gregory Stewart, Partner
SON is made up of two First Nations – the Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation and the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation – with a shared history and ancestry. SON’s traditional homelands – or its territory (see attached map) – includes the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula and about 1 ½ million acres of land to the south of it, stretching from Goderich to Collingwood.
SON launched a claim related to some of the lands on the Peninsula 25 years ago against Canada and Ontario. The case is about the actions of the British Crown who, in 1836, pressed SON to surrender 1.5 million acres of its lands south of Owen Sound. In exchange, SON says that the Crown made an important promise: to protect the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula for SON, forever. But, 18 years later the Crown came back for a surrender of the Peninsula.
SON’s legal action says that this was a breach of the duty the Crown owed to SON, and that the Crown misled SON in the negotiations leading up to the surrender. It seeks the return of lands on the Peninsula that are still owned by Ontario or Canada or have not been bought and paid for by third parties. As such, SON’s claim also includes some municipal road allowances and shore road allowances. That includes roads owned by Saugeen Shores.
An agreement between Saugeen Shores and SON would settle the portion of the claim against Saugeen Shores, but the claim will continue against Canada, Ontario and other municipalities.
The trial began in April 2019, and closing arguments were heard in October 2020. To date, no decision has been released.