Ontario Continues to Ignore that Robinson Huron Treaty Ceded These Islands

The Ministries are ignoring public usage of these islands as they plan to substitute all Crown islands between Killarney and French River to Wiikwemkoong and if implemented, will virtually eliminate public usage and land access in northern Georgian Bay. The Wiikwemkoong were orignially from the United States and emigrated to Canada in the 1830's

Robinson Huron Treaty ceded these islands

The ten billion dollar settlement owing to those receiving annuities under the Robinson Huron Treaty was led by Chief Peltier of Wikwemikong, the same person who is claiming the fishing islands. All those who are subject to the Robinson Huron treaty ceded the islands. As Chief Peltier is receiving the payments and benefits under RHT, how can he be allowed to claim islands that were ceded as part of that treaty. See excerpt from the attached 1850 treaty. To ignore this is a miscarriage of justice affecting all Ontarians who currently have the right to use these crown islands.

Loss of Georgian Bay

The Ontario government is misleading the public into believing that it must give substitute islands in Georgian Bay to Wiikwemkoong  Band, islands that tens of thousands of Ontarians have used for generations.    Ministry of Indigenous Affairs confirmed that it will give Ontario crown land to promote economic, cultural and community development for natives disguised as a valid land claim. Land claims are no longer just about treaties and there is no accountability to the public.  Kayakers, canoers and boaters will be denied access to most of northern Georgian Bay shoreline from Killarney to French River. Taking thousands of islands worth over a billion dollars from public use and giving them to natives with no connection to these islands is not fair nor just. The fact that non-natives, not the Wiikwemkoong, have used these islands for many generations is being ignored by the government. 

In a similar Native boundary land claim by Nuchatlaht First Nation, British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Elliott Myers said in his May 2023  decision that the case demonstrates "the peculiar difficulties of a coastal Aboriginal group meeting the current test for Aboriginal title, given the marine orientation of the culture."
For example, he said it is difficult to prove the nation had used the land because they primarily travelled by canoe, so there were no established trails between coastal locations. He wrote that this case may be indicative of the need for a "reconsideration of the test for Aboriginal title as it relates to coastal First Nations."
Wiikwemkoong are claiming fishing islands near their reserve and as they emigrated to Canada in 1830’s it is inconceivable that they were able to use most of these lands and islands that they are claiming. As a Supreme Court Judge has stated, there is a need for a "reconsideration of the test for Aboriginal title as it relates to coastal First Nations."

 Wiikwemkoong has also requested mainland, which has nothing to do with 41 islands, and Ontario’s MIA has said yes; so, land on highway 400 and other mainland properties will also be given to Wiikwemkoong. The mainland blocks adjacent to Collins Inlet which connects Georgian Bay to Beaverstone Bay is ripe for a blockade preventing thousands of boaters from accessing the route that the voyageurs have used since the 1600’s.  
Governments must show leadership and Minister Rickford is looking the other way.

How is it possible that a claim for land to build fishing huts on 41 islands can expand to thousands of kilometers of Georgian Bay shoreline and tens of thousands of islands encompassing much of Georgian Bay?   This is the second land claim by Wiikwemkoong, (aka Wikwemikong) the first one being settled in 1995 with Wikwemikong receiving $13,900,000 of Canadian taxpayers’ money and a tripling of their Point Grondine ceded reserve. The value of the land was not disclosed to the public.

Ontario has withheld vital information pertaining to this current "give-a-way" but many of these documents have been obtained from other sources and are available for download under the "Documents" tab. For example, the 1896 Toma map of the 41 islands referenced in the claim does not include Philip Edward or George Island.

Even more disturbing is the discovery of an earlier map from National Archives. This 1876 map shows the indigenous fishing area of Wikwemikong to be smaller than the later Toma map.   The map shows fishing between Fitzwilliam Island and Manitoulin but not around Fitzwilliam Island. It does not show Philip Edward Island or any of the surrounding islands near Killarney Park, and it does not show George Island in Killarney. The government is relying on an altered map to mislead the public.

The proposed settlement map shows the land and islands in purple which Ontario proposes to give for the claim. The two dark brown areas are the two existing Indian Reserves, Wikwemikong and Point Grondine. The areas in gray are provincial parks. The area between the two provincial parks - Philip Edward Island, was to become a new Provincial Park until the former Liberal Ontario government cancelled it and decided to give the proposed Provincial park islands to Wiikwemkoong .

Blockade of river
Past blockades of rail lines show that governments are unable to remove them in a timely manner to allow the public access. Blockages of water ways are also possible and Ontario is creating a dangerous situation by giving away control of northern Georgian Bay. The Beaverstone River was blocked in 2016 preventing canoers and kayakers access to this river which passes through Wiikwemkoong’s Point Grondine reserve.

blockage of riverpng

Situation to get Worse

Another 23,000 islands on the northern and eastern shores of Georgian Bay from just east of Sault Ste. Marie and south to O’Donnell Point (near Parry Sound), basically all the remaining Crown islands, are being targeted in a future land claim after the islands in the Killarney to French River have been secured, according to Wiikwemkoong's chief.  This land claim business and other issues are explained in more detail in “The Problem” tab.

Who Is Affected?

All Ontarians are affected.

When the take over is complete, these islands will no longer be Crown Land but will belong to another self-professed "nation” and the public will be denied access to them. Hundreds of properties will become surrounded by this so called “Nation” with access to their islands subject to the full discretion of Wikwemikong Band.  

The thousands of canoers, kayakers, campers & boaters who currently use these islands in northern Georgian Bay near Killarney and the Killarney Provincial Park will be unable to use or camp on these islands, creating potentially dangerous situations during rough seas on Georgian Bay.  

Property values have already declined substantially with several owners reporting that they are unable to sell their islands. MPAC has lowered the property assessment on many island properties in the affected Killarney area.   

Philip Edward Island and its archipelago are located in northern Georgian Bay in the Municipality of Killarney and are accessible via Killarney Provincial Park's Georgian Bay access point. A trip around Philip Edward Island is one of the most scenic and unique trips for canoers, kayakers, boaters and campers. Philip Edward Island is located across open water at the north end of Georgian Bay east of Killarney and not near the Wikwemikong Native Reserve. 

What Can I Do?

Voice your outrage at the loss of access to our islands and thousands of kilometers of shoreline in Georgian Bay. Send a message to Premier Ford to scrap this deal and restore the public park. Premier Doug Ford at  premier@ontario.ca

Please let your friends, fellow boaters and kayakers know and visit us on Facebook  

Ontario Human Rights Tribunal is investigating this discriminatory policy and nearby residents are awaiting its decision.

You can also call or email:

Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Greg Rickford at greg.rickford@pc.ola.org  or  minister.indigenousaffairs@ontario.ca  Tel: 416 314-1161

Your Provincial Member of Parliament,   

Michael Taylor,  Senior Negotiator for Ontario Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation  michael.taylor2@ontario.ca 

And copy us at saveislands@gmail.com.

Request that MIA not give away our islands, remove the “alternate claim” from discussions with Wikwemikong lsland claim and only deal with the original claim for the “41 fishing islands” OR let the lawsuit go to court for let a judge decide based on all the evidence.

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