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Northwestern Ont. First Nation gets $84.45M in historic flood claim settlement

Mitaanjigamiing First Nation Mitaanjigamiing First Nation

Mitaanjigamiing First Nation, in northwestern Ontario, has settled a claim with both the federal and provincial governments involving an ongoing flooding issue caused by the construction of a dam in the early 1900s.

Nearly 30 years after the Treaty 3 claim was filed, a settlement agreement awarded the First Nation $84.45 million. The federal government will pay $45.05 million and Ontario will pay $39.4 million.

"The claim was filed in response to the unauthorized and uncompensated flooding of reserve land due to the building of a dam across the Rainy River at Fort Frances-International Falls," the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs said in a news release Tuesday.

"This claim was accepted for negotiation by Ontario in 2003 and by Canada in April 2009."

Mitaanjigamiing First Nation is located at the northwest arm of Rainy Lake, approximately 70 kilometres north of the Town of Fort Frances. It has a population of 140 people, with 100 members living on reserve.

The dam was built in 1909 for the Fort Frances paper mill and affected the wild rice beds, the First Nation said.

"After many years of negotiations, I am very pleased to state that a former, long-outstanding chief, the late Allan Henderson Sr.'s vision was to file these claims for our future generations. This flood claim, along with the settlement of our treaty land entitlement claim in 2018 and the loss of use claim in 1990 will provide prosperity for our children and youth today and for our future generations," Chief Janice Henderson is quoted as saying in the new release.

Jaime Battiste, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of Crown-Indigenous relations, said the settlement marks an important step in Canada's relationship with the First Nation.

"We acknowledge Canada’s failure to protect the community’s lands and reiterate our commitment to rebuilding the broken trust. Together, we will continue to address these historical wrongs and support Mitaanjigamiing First Nation as it builds toward a brighter future for their community," Battiste said.

Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP Marcus Powlowski said there will be a flood claim settlement ceremony at the end of the month.

Greg Rickford, Ontario's minister of Indigenous affairs, said the settlement "demonstrates Ontario’s commitment to rectifying historical wrongs and moving forward together on the path of reconciliation." Top Stories

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