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Garden River chief meets with disgruntled band members over payout concerns

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Some members of the Garden River First Nation are demanding answers regarding the disbursement of the Robinson-Huron Treaty settlement funds.

Those who gathered for a peaceful demonstration Wednesday morning said the chief and band council have not been communicating effectively and that the membership is not being properly consulted.

Word from Garden River leadership that members would not be receiving a 100 per cent individual payouts from the settlement drew a small group of demonstrators to the band office.

Some took issue with the decision against a full payout, while others are concerned about a lack of communication from chief and council.

“When the traditional chiefs signed the treaty, that money was meant for us individually on this reserve,” said Elder Barb Nolan.

“This money here, this is for us for back pay of all of our descendants,” added Daniel Leblanc.

“People want to know when, and people want to know how much,” said Cindy Belleau-Jones.

Some members of the Garden River First Nation are demanding answers regarding the disbursement of the Robinson-Huron Treaty settlement funds. (Photo from video)

“That’s the bottom line.”

“I think if we could get the chief and council to provide some opportunities for band members to actually engage face-to-face, we wouldn’t need to have to get other people here standing outside,” said John Syrette.

It appears the band members will get that chance as Chief Karen Bell made an appearance at the demonstration and told those in attendance that a public meeting could take place as early as May 1.

Bell also said it will be late July or early August before the settlement money is distributed, leaving plenty of time for consultation.

“May, June, July, we’re going to do lots of engagement with people, we’re going to ask people’s input,” Bell told the crowd.

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