May 21st, 2024

Chief Fox pleased with Supreme Court ruling

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on April 16, 2024.


Blood Tribe chief Roy Fox says he’s pleased with the Supreme Court ruling that the reserve did not get what it was entitled to under Treaty No. 7.

However, in a statement sent to media, Fox said “the Blood Tribe is disappointed that the court found that treaties were enforceable upon execution and therefore limitations periods apply to treaty claims.

“However, we are pleased that the court also found that declaratory relief is warranted in this case given the longevity and magnitude of the Crown’s dishonourable conduct towards the Blood Tribe. The court held that a declaration is important as it would help to clarify the Blood Tribe’s claim, identify the Crown’s dishonourable conduct, assist future reconciliation efforts and help to restore the honour of the Crown.

“The Court noted that in its oral submission before the court that the Crown acknowledged that its breach of the Treaty was ‘very serious,’ ‘dishonourable’ and even ‘unconscionable.’ The Blood Tribe has always felt this way and is pleased that the highest Court in Canada has now made a strong declaration that says so,” said Fox.

In his statement, the chief said the tribe has been attempting to resolve their claim in several ways including:

• In 1976 tabling its position that the Treaty Land Entitlement had been breached. In 1978 the Minister rejected that claim.

• Filing a Statement of Claim in 1980, but continuing to seek a resolution outside of litigation.,

• Submitting its claim to Canada under Canada’s Specific Claims Policy. After many years in that process, Canada again rejected the claim in 2003, stating that it had no outstanding legal obligation to the Blood Tribe.

• The Blood Tribe requested that the Indian Claims Commission conduct an inquiry into the claim and after doing so, in 2007 the Commission recommended to Canada that it negotiate the claim but Canada again refused to do so.

• The Blood Tribe then entered into active litigation continued to request that Canada enter into meaningful negotiations at every step of the process. It refused to take any steps that would indicate that it was acting in good faith to resolve the claim.

Fox said now that the Supreme Court has issued its ruling the tribe is trusting the Canadian government will understand that it needs to fulfill its obligations to the treaty.

“Blood Tribe council is reviewing all options to ensure that the promises made at the time of the Blackfoot Treaty of 1877 are met and that the government of Canada lives up to its promises. This includes continuing to negotiate with Specific Claims Canada outside of the $150 million cap,” said Fox.

On Friday, the court ruled that the tribe received less land than it should have under the treaty.

It ruled the tribe is entitle to more than 420 square kilometres of additional territory, saying in its ruling that the Crowns “dishonourably breached” treaty conditions.

Under the treaty, the tribe was entitled to a reserve of 1,839 square kilometres in size, the court ruled with the 1877 treaty calling for one square mile for each family of five to be set aside for the reserve. But it received a reserve of only 1,418 square kilometres.

Share this story:

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x