The Robinson Huron Treaty 1850 Beneficiaries / Annuitants are citizens of 21 First Nations on and off reserve whose ancestors are connected to the First Nations dating back to 1850.
TREATY OF PARIS 1763
The Treaty of Paris 1763 announced the end of the Seven Years War (also called the French and Indian War of North America) between England and France which had raged between the two countries in Europe and in North America. This Treaty is not to be confused with the Treaty of Paris 1783 which ended the War of Independence between the United States and England that began in America as a result of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
The Treaty of Paris 1763 signed on February 10, 1763, saw France renounce to England all the territory of North America east of the Mississippi River. The Kingdom of England assumed sovereignty over this territory which France purported to have exercised sovereignty over. The Indigenous Nations of North America never accepted that France owned the territory and had no right to transfer it to England. There was neither war nor treaty between the Indigenous Nations of North America and the Kingdom of France that granted France ownership of the said territory.
The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued by King George III that sets out the principles for sovereign relations. It sets the terms for European settlement of indigenous territories in parts of North America. The Proclamation affirmed Aboriginal
Title, of Sovereignty lands. The Royal Proclamation was clear that lands did not become available for European settlement until an agreement for sharing with the Indigenous Peoples of the area was secured.
“And whereas it is just and reasonable, and essential to Our Interest and the Security of Our Colonies, that the several Nations or Tribes of Indians, with whom We are connected, and who live under Our Protection, should not be molested or disturbed in the Possession of parts of Our Dominions and Territories as, not having ceded to, or purchased by Us, are reserved to them, or any of them, as their Hunting Grounds. Etc.…”
1764 COUNCIL AT NIAGARA
1,700 Indigenous inhabitants gathered. A diplomatic exercise where the British sought to renew and strengthen the Covenant Chain.
In 1845, the Anishinaabe of the northern shores of Lake Huron and Lake Superior petitioned the Crown that the increased settler exploration and development of mines was an illegal encroachment of their traditional lands. In response, the Crown appointed Alexander Vidal and Thomas Anderson by Order in Council dated August 4, 1849 to meet with the Indians on their lands to investigate their claims. The encroachment began to have negative impacts effects on Anishinaabe way of life. In November 1849 asserting Sovereignty over the territory Chief Shingwaukonse and Chief Nebenaigoching and 100 Anishnawbek occupy the Mica Bay Copper Mine. The Chiefs were arrested and jailed in Toronto. In 1850 William Benjamin Robinson was appointed Treaty Commissioner by the Crown to negotiate terms of treaty.
The Robinson-Huron Treaty (RHT) was signed on September 9, 1850 on Whitefish Island in Baawating (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario). Lake Huron Anishinabek leaders, Chiefs and Principle Men entered treaty with the British Crown. Treaties are the fou-
dation of this country. They are recognized and affirmed in the Canadian Constitution, so they are part of the supreme law of the land. Because all citizens benefit from the RHT, it is important for all citizens to know about the Robinson-Huron Treaty and its principles, intentions, and content, both in the written and oral context.
To compensate for the sharing of land and resources due to European settlement and to share in the wealth created within First Nation territories, a perpetual annuity was guaranteed as an annual payment to the beneficiaries. An escalator provision was included in the Treaty to anticipate annuity increases when resource revenues increased.
“should the Territory hereby ceded […] at any future period produce such an amount as will enable the Government of this Province, without incurring loss, to increase the annuity hereby secured to them, then and in that case the same shall be augmented from time to time”.
EXCLUSIVE RESERVE LAND
The RHT guarantees that each First Nation signatory would continue to occupy unceded lands for their exclusive use, lands suitable for their people, including future generations, to live as they always had. In other words, the governance, and economies of the Anishinaabe was to be maintained unaffected by the settlement of Europeans around them.
HUNTING & FISHING RIGHTS
The Anishinaabe retained the “Full privilege to hunt, trap, fish etc. on those ceded by us”. Traditional harvesting rights were guaranteed. All Anishinabek members of the treaty were to have unrestricted access to hunt and fish as they always had throughout their traditional territories.