Now that Treaty Recognition Week is almost over, we look back on the history of our Territory. Thank you to all those who took the time this week to educate yourselves about the complex Treaty history of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON).
Saukiing Anishnaabekiing, the SON Territory, is estimated at 2 million acres and encompasses much of the Saugeen Peninsula, extending down south of Goderich and east of Collingwood. See below for a map of the Territory.
Starting in 1836, SON entered into a series of treaties and agreements with the Crown. Many of these treaties were signed to protect land which was later taken.
In 1847, SON secured a Royal Declaration from Queen Victoria which confirmed SON held the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula, which was given as a line between Southampton and Owen Sound and included any islands within seven miles of the coast. However, only seven years later, Laurence Oliphant – Superintendent General for Indian Affairs – negotiated Treaty No. 72 with SON in 1854. In the Treaty, SON ceded a little less than 500,000 acres of the peninsula. In exchange, they were to receive proceeds from all lands sold to be held in trust, as well the remaining reserves would be protected from encroachment. The land claim for Treaty 72 is presently in the Canadian court systems.
At this point, the remaining reserves were Chief’s Point, Saugeen Reserve (Owen Sound), Colpoy’s Bay Reserve (Big Bay), and Cape Croker Indian Reserve No. 27, as well as the Fishing Islands in Lake Huron, Cape Hurd islands, and three islands at the entrance to Colpoy’s Bay.
When the 10,000 acre Nawash Reserve to the west of Owen Sound was surrendered in 1857, the residents were to move to Cape Croker, although many did not want to. In 1861, the Colpoy’s Bay Reserve (6,000 acres) was surrendered. Some moved to Cape Croker and Southampton, but the majority moved to Christian Island. Finally, the Fishing Islands, Cape Hurd Islands, Griffith Island, Hay Island and White Cloud Island were surrendered from 1885 to 1899. It took until 1968 for approximately 90 fishing islands in Lake Huron to be returned to the Saugeen Anishnaabek.
1836 – Saugeen Treaty No. 45 ½ Negotiated with the Crown. SON agreed to open up 1.5 million acres of land for settlement in exchange for economic assistance and protection from settler encroachment “…upon which proper houses shall be built for you, and proper assistance given to enable you to become civilized and to cultivate land, which you Great Father engages for ever to protect for you from the encroachments of the whites.” Read the full text: https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1370372152585/1581293792285#ucls23
1851 – Half Mile Strip Treaty No. 67 Negotiated with the Crown. Surrendered over 4,000 acres for a road to join Owen Sound and Southampton. 1854 – Saugeen Peninsula Treaty No. 72 Negotiated with the Crown. Interpreted by settler governments as the surrender of the Saugeen Peninsula in exchange for reserves – certain tracts of land set aside – and proceeds from the sale of the land “…agreed that it will be highly desirable for us to make a full and complete surrender unto the Crown of that Peninsula known as the Saugeen and Owen Sound Indian Reserve, subject to certain restrictions and reservations to be hereinafter set forth.” Read the full text: https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1370372152585/1581293792285#ucls24
1857 – Owen Sound/Nawash Treaty No. 82 Negotiated with the Crown. 10,000 acre Nawash Reserve to the northwest of Owen Sound was surrendered, with residents moving to Cape Croker, although many did not want to.
1861 – Colpoy’s Bay Treaty No. 93 Negotiated with the Crown. The Colpoy’s Bay Reserve (6,000 acres) was surrendered. Some residents moved to Neyaashiinigmiing and Saugeen, but the majority moved to Christian Island.
1885-1899 – Islands The Fishing Islands, Cape Hurd Islands, Griffith Island, Hay Island and White Cloud Island were surrendered.
1968 – Return of Islands Approximately 90 fishing islands in Lake Huron were returned to the Saugeen Ojibway Nation.
1994 – Treaty 72 Claim Argues that Treaty 72 is not equitably valid, Crown breached its duty to “for ever to protect for you from the encroachments of the whites.”
2003 – Aboriginal Title Claim Claiming Aboriginal Title to parts of the Lake Huron and Georgian Bay waterbeds.
2019 – Treaty 72 Claim in Court Start of the Treaty 72 Land Claim being seen in the Court of Law. Read more about the claims: https://www.oktlaw.com/services/cases/son_titleclaim/
Saugeen Ojibway Nation is comprised of two First Nations communities, the Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation and the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.
Our Territory (Saukiing Anishnaabekiing) encompasses the entire Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula and is bounded in the south by the Maitland River system from Goderich to past Arthur, in the west by the Canada/USA border in the middle of Lake Huron, in the north by a line along the midpoint of the channel between the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula and Manitoulin Island, and in the east by a line down the middle of Georgian Bay.
SON also asserts Aboriginal Title over that portion of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay within their Territory.