UPDATED: Nov 2, 2022 9:22 a.m.
By Lynda Powless
The Mississaugas of Credit First Nation (MCFN) are seeking intervenor status in Six Nations massive trillion dollar law suit that could push the case further back into 2024.
Six Nations lands director Lonny Bomberry said the neigbouring First Nation served Six Nations lawyers last Thursday.
Calling it a “bogus claim” he said “they are all coming out of the woodwork when its coming close to payday. Everyone is coming out of the woodwork to try to claim.”
He said not only is MCFN trying to jump on board, but they are also doing so with some of Six Nations case materials.
He said, “Ontario is desperate.”
He said “Ontario released some of our expert reports to them, without our consent. We served the reports on Canada and Ontario but have not filed in court, so they have them and Ontario gave them to (Mississaugas) Credit First Nation before our court case comes up.”
“Ontario is desperate. They are not prepared to defend this trial; they never have been and are just trying to delay and confuse everything.”
The massive case against Canada and Ontario was scheduled to go to court in January 2023.
Now the MCFN have become the second entity to seek intervenor status in the massive lawsuit.
The lawsuit scheduled to go to trial in early 2023 was pushed back to 2024 last month and now could now be pushed back even further.
Bomberry said they are pushing to have both the HDI and MCFN claims dealt with as early as possible. “We are hoping to have these matters dealt with early in 2023.”
Last month the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council’s (HCCC) development arm the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI) filed for intervenor status claiming the HCCC at Grand River represents all Haudenosaunee.
The courts ordered the HDI to prove the HCCC does represent all Haudenosaunee and were told to place notices in newspapers from Quebec to Ontario to New York and even out west in a move to prove they did represent all Haudenosaunee.
Both groups seeking intervenor status comes after Crown-Indigenous Relations officials received an opinion from negotiators with the Treaties and Aboriginal Government branch that there was reason to worry they could lose the massive land claim case.
Internal documents in a 2020 briefing package to the deputy minister, said ““Justice Canada advises that portions of the Six Nations litigation claim pose high risk for the Crown, and will result in a significant damage award.”
Negotiators with the Treaties and Aboriginal Government branch informed their deputy minister, the department’s top public servant, of the law department’s opinion in the August 2020 briefing package obtained by APTN News and Turtle Island News.
Six Nations lawsuit demands an answer to what happened to Six Nations 900,000 acres of land that was improperly surrendered in southwestern Ontario, and its monies.
Six Nations dollars were used at the time as a fledgling Upper Canada was being formed to build bridges, government buildings and more.
Bomberry said MCFN is claiming they did not surrender any of Ontario and still have treaty ownership to the area.
He said “they are saying the NanFan Treaty does not apply to them.
“They want to intervene claiming they never surrendered all this territory and still have treaty ownership of it. The NanFan Treaty is not valid against them, and they and other Anishinaabe people drove out the Haudenosaunee in late 1600s and took control of the area. I don’t know what evidence they have to rely on that. We have never run across it.”
They said MCFN quick claimed any lands they had.
“They gave up everything. So, it’s going to become a battle of them making scurrilous claims about what’s true.”
He said MCFN has history issues. “In 1847 they were surrounded by settlers and asked Six Nations if we would set aside land for them to move here with us. So, if we were such great enemies as they like to claim, why would they want to live among us’
He said “We took mercy on them and let them stay with us. We never surrendered that land. They don’t own that land. They have nothing to prove they own the land. We reserved the right to the woods and to hunt there.”
He said even the MCFN lineage may be up for discussion in any court case.
He said “there are historians who will say they drove out the Haudenosaunee in the Beaver Wars but there’s no actual record of that just hearsay and noted historians don’t believe that actually happened. We had more concerns, more battles going on with what was happening with American states and tribes there, that’s where we concentrated our energy and the Huron and Neutrals had been assimilated into the Five Nations.
He said the MCFN launched a claim now in abeyance saying they did not surrender any of the waters of Ontario, including all the Great Lakes, rivers and streams in their treaty areas, in their quick claim areas.”
He said he is confident in Six Nations’ case. “We are just going to have to do a little work that’s all. They are all coming out of the woodwork when you come close to a payday.
In a statement the MCFN said “Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation has always supported, and will continue to support, Six Nations of the Grand River’s decades-long fight for a just accounting of the monies owed to them by the Crown relating to the sale and mismanagement of their lands. Unfortunately, it has become clear that the case will go further than this and will also deal with broad questions of historical facts and rights, including the rights of Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. We feel compelled to participate in this case to ensure our history is told fairly and accurately, and that the rights of our people are protected. We have been drawn into this case very reluctantly and remain hopeful that the focus of the case remains on the historical wrongs suffered by Six Nations of the Grand River.”