Lubicon: letters to/from Indian Affairs Minister

Lubicon Lake Indian Nation
Little Buffalo Lake, AB
FAX: 403-629-3939

Mailing address:
3536 - 106 Street
Edmonton, AB T6J 1A4
FAX: 403-437-0719

June 11, 1991

Enclosed for your information are copies of a self-explanatory exchange of letters between Federal Indian Affairs Minister Tom Siddon and a concerned Canadian citizen.

It's notable that the Minister explicitly and deliberately misrepresents the population on which the Whitefish settlement agreement was negotiated; i.e., total current population rather than the 47 "new adherents" on which the settlement agreement was actually based.

It's also notable that he didn't get away with it.

Attachment #1: December 25, 1990, Letter from Toronto resident Stephen Kenda to Federal Indian Affairs Minister Tom Siddon

Dear Mr. Siddon,

I am a concerned citizen.

In the 1989 settlement with the Whitefish Lake band of Alberta, the per person amounts were over $0.4 million and 117 acres.

In the case of the over 520 Lubicon Cree of Alberta, this amounts to over $208 million and more than 95 sq. mi.

The Lubicon Cree offer to settle for $170 million and the already set aside 95 sq. mi. is quite in line; apparently a $38 million dollar bargain.

Even the Premier of Alberta has commented on the government offer as "deficient in the area of providing economic stability for the future."

Why is the gov't offer only $45 million?

The Lubicon have been waiting 50 years.

Is that not already too long?

Why delay settlement?

Happy New Year!

Yours Truly,

Stephen Kenda

Attachment #2: April 26, 1991, letter from Federal Indian Affairs Minister Tom Siddon to Toronto Resident Stephen Kenda

Dear Mr. Kenda:

Thank you for your letter of December 25, 1990 regarding the Lubicon Lake Band. Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to your correspondence.

In your letter you compare the land claims of the Whitefish Lake and Lubicon Lake Bands of northern Alberta. In making your comparison, I would like to point out that the information you quote for the Whitefish Lake land claim is incorrect. In terms of current population, which you sue for the Lubicon Lake land claim, the Whitefish Lake settlement was for $17,364 and 6.45 acres per capita rather than the $0.4 million and 117 acres per capita which you cite.

Land claim settlements are difficult to compare because the merits of any two claims are never the same. As such, it is government policy to settle claims on their individual merits.

The government recognizes an outstanding claim by the Lubicon Lake Band and has made a comprehensive and fair offer to address that claim. Canada's offer includes:

- a promise to give effect to the Grimshaw Accord between Premier Getty and Chief Ominayak for 95 square miles of land. (This is the amount of land sought by the band.);

- $34 million toward the construction of a new community;

- a $10 million economic development fund which could lever sufficient capital investment to ensure a very high level of ongoing and meaningful employment; and,

- a $500,000 for a trust fund to assist elders to pursue a traditional way of life.

I realize that at the time of Canada's offer the band felt that it was entitled to "from $114 to $275 million" in compensation. While it is the government's view that this claim cannot be supported, Canada has given the band the express right to accept its offer in its entirety and then pursue its claim for compensation against Canada in the courts. This would have allowed the immediate establishment of a reserve for the band, an immediate start on the construction of a new community, and an immediate increase in job opportunities for band members together with an enhanced standard of living this would bring. Had the band accepted Canada's offer, construction would be well underway as could the band's claim for compensation before the courts.

The government remains committed to resolving this complex social issue. The government's offer is a fair one and I am hopeful that at some point the Lubicon people will take advantage of it.

Your views concerning the Lubicon people are appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

Tom Siddon, P.C., M.P.

Attachment #3: May 29, 1991, Letter from Toronto resident Stephen Kenda to Federal Indian Affairs Minister Tom Siddon

Dear Mr. Siddon,

Re: Lubicon Land

Thank you for your Apr. 26, 1991, letter.

As you well know, the Whitefish Lake claim is in regards to 47 "new adherents". The settlement, in excess of $19 million and more than 5,500 acres, yields in excess of $0.4 million and more than 117 acres per person as previously stated. This is not "incorrect", as you stated. Lubicon demands are less than this.

Have there been any independent arbitrators or inquiries calling your $45 million offer "fair"? If you are serious about negotiating with the Lubicon, why isn't the ENTIRE MATTER in arbitration NOW?

Remember, Canada stands shamed in denial of Lubicon human rights as long as the entire land claim remains unresolved.

Yours Truly,

Stephen Kenda

Toronto, ONT