November 30, 2015

Kelly Lake Cree Nation, otherwise known in our language as the As’in’i’wa’chi Ni’yaw Nation “Rocky Mountain People,” filed a Comprehensive Rights and Title Claim with the Government of Canada in 1996.

The goal of the Claim is to create a modern day agreement, which is generally entered into when Aboriginal land and resource rights have not been addressed by previous treaties or any other legal means. 

It is known that our ancestors were not included in the treaty process and therefore never entered into the existing Treaties 6 or 8.  As a result, the Government of Canada has refused to recognize KLCN members as “Indians” under the Indian Act of 1876. In response, KLCN has completed extensive genealogy and historical research for the past 15 years to disprove the government’s claim that “we are not Indians.” 

Since 1998, the Government of Canada has made several unsuccessful attempts to have KLCN’s Claim thrown out of court.

Our lawsuit against Canada was placed on stay of proceeding in 2011 in preparation for trial. We are now at the stage of expert witness testimony and will be providing two expert witnesses who will testify on our behalf during trial. One is an expert historian who has argued several other court cases, including Ermineskin Cree Nation in Samson v. Her Majesty the Queen and Siksika First Nation's aboriginal rights case Castle Mountain in Treaty 7. The genealogy expert opinion has already been presented.

We anticipate a favorable ruling given the success of several other precedent-setting title (land) cases in British Columbia, such as the Tsilhqot'in Aboriginal title case.

CLICK HERE for Williams decisions of June 26, 2014.

For the past several years, we have worked tirelessly to prove our existence. It is not a matter of IF our Claim will be successful: it is only a matter of WHEN. 

When our Claim is successful, we will move toward negotiating a modern day self government agreement.  Once ratified, the Indigenous rights contained within the agreement are constitutionally recognized and protected, and the terms of the agreement will take precedence over other laws and policies in Canada. 

We have always known that our people have a very strong Aboriginal Rights and Title case, as we never adhered to Treaties 6 and 8. When Catholic missionaries arrived in KLCN territory prior to the Treaty Commissioner’s signing of Treaty 8 on June 21, 1899 in Northern Alberta and Treaty 6 on August 23 and September 9, 1876, our people wanted to be left alone. KLCN oral history tells us our people came to the realization, through their patriarchal ancestors’ experiences of treaties in the East, that Treaties would diminish their way of life and might not be fully honored. Ultimately our ancestors were not included in the treaty process, and we carry on our ancestors’ position today that we govern ourselves.  

What is a Modern Day Agreement?

Who is covered by the Claim?

What can I do to help?

“My father Johnny Calliou would be gone most of the year, he worked with his brother Pete, Joe and Sam guiding,  hunting, trapping and sharing the food they brought back to the whole community. That's the way it always was.”

-Irene Duke aka Pearl Irene Calliou.

Another wise elder once said, “Nothing is worth more than the day when we get our land claim.” People need to help each other and work hard, like we always have and will continue for many years to come.