following a negotiation process that lasted nearly 10 years, the Huron-Wendat Nation received, in January 2023, an offer of compensation from the federal government for the settlement of the specific claim for the Rockmont Reserve.
This offer amounts to
148 949 608 $
Note that if the settlement offer is accepted by the members, the compensation funds will be transferred into the Rockmont Trust, established for this purpose, and the funds will then be used in accordance with what the trust document provides. To learn more about the Rockmont Trust, see the “Establishment of the Rockmont Trust” section.
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The Rockmont reserve
The Rockmont reserve is a former reserve land within the meaning of the Indian Act, with an area of 9,600 acres (approximately 28.85 km2), which was reserved for the use of the Huron-Wendat Nation in 1858.
Formerly, this reserve was used by members of the Huron-Wendat Nation mainly for the practice of traditional activities. The Cabane d’automne (autumn cabin) was notably established on this land. Woodcutting activities were also carried out there by logging companies authorized by Canada, thus generating logging revenue for the Huron-Wendat Nation.
However, in 1904, Canada illegally obtained the Rockmont reserve in violation of the Indian Act. This specific claim therefore aims to resolve this past injustice and obtain compensation with a view to ensuring the sustainability of the Huron-Wendat Nation.
History of the claim
The specific claim for the Rockmont reserve was initiated in the 1980s by the Conseil de la Nation huronne-wendat with a view to ensuring recognition of Canada’s failures in the management, transfer, and sale of the Rockmont reserve. Several major steps have been taken over the course of this period:
- June 1988: First filing of the claim by the Conseil de la Nation huronne-wendat.
- April 1995: Canada refuses the claim.
- November 1996: Second filing of the claim by the Conseil de la Nation huronne-wendat.
- October 2007: Canada again refuses the claim.
- March 2010: Third filing of the claim by the Conseil de la Nation huronne-wendat.
- April 2013: Canada finally accepts the claim.
- 2013 to 2022: Negotiation of compensation between the Huron-Wendat Nation and Canada.
- January 2023: Canada submits a settlement offer to the Conseil de la Nation huronne-wendat, totalling $148,949,608, which the Conseil de la Nation huronne-wendat deems satisfactory.
- December 15, 2023: Referendum on the approval of the settlement offer.
The Settlement Agreement provides for five elements:
Payment of compensation totalling $148,949,608 to the Rockmont Trust within 45 days of the entry into force of the Settlement Agreement, in the event of a “yes” result to the referendum.
- The possibility of adding reserve lands
Possibility for the Huron-Wendat Nation to add an area of reserve land equivalent to the area of the Rockmont reserve in accordance with Canada’s Additions to Reserve policy.
- Waiver of legal liability
Final, complete, and irrevocable waiver on the part of the Huron-Wendat Nation and its members regarding any recourse against Canada related to the Rockmont reserve, its illegal transfer, and its management by Canada. The Nation will never in the future be able to claim anything related to the Rockmont reserve, nor will it be able to call into question the ownership and use by the current owners of the lands of the Rockmont Reserve, unless another Indigenous people claims to have an interest or rights relating to it.
- Protection for Canada against legal proceedings
The Nation protects and undertakes to indemnify Canada against any potential legal proceeding associated with the Rockmont reserve, its illegal transfer, its management, and the settlement agreement. Thus, if Canada were to be ordered by a court to pay damages, it would be the Nation’s responsibility to pay said damages.
- Protection of the constitutional rights of the Huron-Wendat Nation
The waiver and release granted in the agreement relate exclusively to the Rockmont reserve and the Settlement Agreement does not in any way interfere with the Nation’s constitutionally protected rights and in no way prevents the Nation from contesting an interest or recourse, whatever it may be, of another Indigenous people in relation to the Rockmont reserve land.
The Settlement Agreement is confidential. Any member who wishes to obtain a copy of the Agreement can submit a written request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Les fondements historiques qui ont été invoqués par la Nation huronne-wendat concernant la revendication particulière de la réserve de Rockmont sont les suivants :
- La cession de la terre de réserve était illégale;
- Le Canada n’a pris aucune mesure adéquate pour empêcher la déprédation du bois (7 659 billots d’épinettes et 560 de pins) sur la réserve vers 1875;
- Le Canada a omis de réclamer un montant de 415,28 $ versé au Québec pour la coupe de bois vers 1875;
- Le Canada n’aurait pas dû rembourser une somme de 500 $ au titulaire de la licence de coupe au moment de la cession;
- Le Canada n’aurait pas dû verser une somme de 1 200 $ à l’un des Chefs du conseil de la Nation huronne-wendat de l’époque.
Le Canada a accepté aux fins de la négociation que la cession de la réserve de Rockmont était illégale.
Les négociations qui se sont déroulées entre 2013 et 2022 visaient à convenir avec le Canada de l’indemnité qui devait être versée à la Nation huronne-wendat concernant deux éléments :
- La valeur actuelle des terres de l’ancienne réserve de Rockmont;
- Les pertes d’usage de ces terres subies par la Nation depuis la cession illégale jusqu’à ce jour.
The land value is based on its current market value. It was established by an approved appraiser who analyzed the recent sale of land similar to the Rockmont reserve. Land use-related losses are also determined by an evaluation of the estimated revenues to which the Huron-Wendat Nation has been deprived since the illegal transfer took place in 1904.
The value of the land was set at $6,255,817, from which was subtracted the sale price paid to the Huron-Wendat Nation in 1904, updated in today’s dollars, or $4,902,844. The compensation for the value of the land is therefore $1,352,833. The compensation for loss of wildlife-related use is $3,335,671 and the compensation for loss of forest-related use is $142,830,059. The total compensation is established at $148,949,608, i.e., the sum of these compensations, to which is added compensation for the costs of negotiating the settlement agreement ($200,000), possible costs related to the acquisition of land ($625,582), referendum fees ($99,825), and fees for negotiating the settlement offer ($505,538).
Creation of the Rockmont Trust
The Rockmont Trust will be composed of seven trustees who will be tasked with conscientiously administering the funds of the settlement agreement under the terms of the trust document. The trust funds will be perpetually allocated for purposes of social utility in the general interest of the members of the Huron-Wendat Nation, so as to ensure the sustainability of the Nation, particularly in the areas of culture, education, philanthropy, science, and socio-economic and community issues.
All members of the Huron-Wendat Nation aged 18 years and over on the voting date, which is December 15, 2023, will have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote and express whether they are in favour of the Settlement Agreement for the Rockmont reserve specific claim and the Trust document.
The referendum question on which you will be called to vote is as follows:
To this end, all members aged 18 years and over will be receiving, as of November 15th, a voting kit containing all the details for the vote. Please note that members not residing in Wendake will be able to vote by mail. These members must request a voting kit from the Chief Referendum Officer by writing to :
- Rules surrounding the holding of a referendum relating to the settlement of the Rockmont reserve specific claim (will be sent upon request)
- Federal Specific Claims Policy
- Specific Claims Tribunal Act
- First submission of the claim by the Conseil de la Nation huronne-wendat – June 1988
- Letter from Canada refusing the claim – April 1995
- Second submission of the claim by the Conseil de la Nation huronne-wendat – November 1996
- Letter from Canada again refusing the claim – October 2007
- Third submission of the claim by the Conseil de la Nation huronne-wendat – March 2010
- Letter from Canada accepting the claim – April 2013
- Letter from Canada making a settlement offer to the Huron-Wendat Nation – January 16, 2023