Negotiations

Information about the negotiation of claims in Kahnawà:ke is organized in the tabs below. Click to expand.

SSSL Land Grievance Negotiations

Background

For hundreds of years, Kahnawà:ke has taken action to oppose the loss of Seigneury of Sault St. Louis lands. Disputes have been raised at several points in our history, including: in 1716, 1750, 1760, 1794, 1795, 1796, 1798, 1800, 1807, 1820, 1829, 1843, 1874, 1882, 1891, 1892, and frequently in the 20th and 21st century. In 1994, the MCK entered a joint research project to clarify the facts of the SSSL Land Grievance. Exploratory Discussions were then held between MCK and Canada on the basis of this research to define an approach to resolving the grievance.

In 2003, following a period of Exploratory Discussions, Canada extended an Offer to Negotiate the SSSL Land Grievance. The MCK accepted the Offer and formally signed a Negotiations Protocol in 2005. This Protocol outlines negotiations principles and the responsibilities of each of the negotiating parties. The SSSL Negotiations Protocol was renewed in 2010; talks continue today.

The MCK Council of Chiefs is responsible for providing strategic direction to the SSSL Team for Negotiations Meetings. The SSSL Team is responsible for implementing the direction received from the Council of Chiefs at the SSSL Negotiations Meetings, and in internal activities that support negotiations. The SSSL Team is required to report on the status of Negotiations Meetings and other related activities to the Council of Chiefs on a regular basis. The Council of Chiefs reports to, and solicits direction from, community members on a regular basis through Community Meetings.

Over the course of years, the Negotiations Meetings have dealt with an array of issues. The MCK’s negotiations positions at the table have been informed by community-directed principles outlined through previous SSSL community consultations carried out in 2006 and 2008. Recently, the Council of Chiefs determined that further consultation was required on key issues. Efforts are underway to consult with the community on these matters, with the goal of better informing Kahnawà:ke’s positions at SSSL Negotiations Meetings.

Other Specific Claims Negotiations (St. Lawrence Seaway, Mercier Bridge, Railways & Hydro Lines)

Background

At this point in time, only the Seigneury of Sault St. Louis grievance is in active negotiations.

The MCK has completed the re-drafting and submission of 3 claims to the Minister. These are: the Mercier Bridge Claim; the Canadian-Pacific Railway Claim; and, the CSX Railway Claim. These claims will go through a review and assessment process to determine if they are accepted for negotiation.

In general, a claim submitted to the Specific Claims Process will undergo the following process:

  • A 6-month Early Review period to allow the federal government to determine whether the claim submission meets minimum criteria for admissibility established by the government, which is called the “Minimum Standard”;
  • If the Minimum Standard is met, the claim submission then undergoes a 3-year Research and Assessment period, during which the federal government determines whether there exists additional information and assesses whether the claim should be accepted for negotiation;
  • If the claim is accepted for negotiation, the parties have a minimum of 3 years to negotiate the claim and reach settlement.

Update

As the claims were re-submitted at different times, each has a different deadline for Canada to inform Kahnawà:ke of its decision to accept the claim for negotiation, or not. The deadlines are:

  • Mercier Bridge Claim – July 4, 2015
  • CPR Claim – August 16, 2016
  • CSX Claim – September 10, 2017

So far, the Mercier Bridge Claim, CPR Claim and CSX Railway Claim have all met the Minimum Standard review. However, on July 17, 2015, after the close of the 3-year Research and Assessment period, Canada sent a notice of rejection, refusing the Mercier Bridge Claim submission in its entirety. Canada based its decision on the assertion that it has no outstanding lawful obligations towards Kahnawà:ke in relation to the construction of the Mercier Bridge and its approaches. The MCK is currently in the process of weighing its options to determine what next steps should to be taken in relation to this claim. The community will be informed as developments occur.

The CPR and CSX Railway Claims are still in the Research and Assessment phase.

Claim submissions made by MCK in the future will be subject to the same process. The MCK will keep the community informed of any developments relating to these, or future claims.

SSSL Negotiations - Perspectives

Background

There are diverse perspectives amongst the community of Kahnawà:ke on the SSSL grievance and negotiations with the federal government. Some community members are well versed on the subject, while others are just beginning to become familiarized with the issues. Some community members have strong views on negotiations, while others are still forming an opinion on matters.

To illustrate some of these perspectives, the MCK will be conducting video interviews with a variety of community members, and hosting them on this website.

Grand Chiefs share their perspectives on the SSSL grievance and general status of negotiations:

Former Grand Chief Joe Norton

– What does the Seigneury mean to you?
– Tell us about the notices that were sent out to surrounding communities around 1988-89?
– Is it safe to say that this precipitated the decisions and actions that followed?
– The Federal Government finally agreed to talk with Kahnawà:ke in the early 1990s – what was said?
– Once discussions and negotiations started were you generally satisfied with the progress made?
– Why are Kahnawa’kehró:non so passionate about the Seigneury and what would you say to the community about the process at the moment?
– Are you satisfied with the way things are going?
– What are your thoughts on people suggesting that the Seigneury be only about land?
– Do you think that the fact that the Iroquois Confederacy has a much larger claim, it affects our ability to reach a settlement?
– Do you have any last words you would like to share in regards to the Seigneury?

Former Grand Chief Mike Delisle, Jr.

– Growing up – how much did you know about the Seigneury?
– Does it surprise you how passionate people are about the Seigneury?
– What have you seen since your term on Council and then as Grand Chief in regards to progress?
– What happened to the process that is being used to negotiate the Seigneury?
– What are some of the obstacles we’ve run into so far?
– Since the internet is not limited to Kahnawà:ke – what message would you relay to non-Natives who access this information?
– Do you have any final messages to Kahnawa’kehro:non in regards to our progress in this matter?

Former Grand Chief Andrew Delisle

– When did you first hear about the Seigneury?
– In the early 1960s there were no full time Council chiefs- how did this impact what happened with the Seigneury?
– Did people talk about the lands as well as the collections of rents?
– MCK received a grant in the 1970s to begin research – was that the start of the modern fight for the Seigneury?
– Do you recall conversations with Joe Norton in regards to Seigneury?
– What are some of your thoughts on where we’re at today?
– Did your father and grandfather ever speak to you about the Seigneury?
– Historically, do you think we were too nice and accommodating?
– What impact did various impositions such as quarries, Seaway, railroads have on the community as time went on?
– Did that influence your decision to get into politics at all?
– Is there one thing you could share with the community in regards to the Seigneury?

Videos will be added to the website in the future. Please re-visit our site to review new videos as they are added.

Community Consultations on SSSL Negotiations

Throughout SSSL Negotiations, the MCK has relied heavily on community direction collected through two previously conducted community consultations, namely the Ratirhiwaro:roks Seigneury Community Group Consultation (2007-2008) and SSSL Land Grievance Community Consultation (2006). These consultations produced key principles that have guided the MCK’s negotiations positions on a variety of issues throughout the process, including the principles of non-negotiation of Aboriginal Title and adherence to the Seven Generations principle.

As SSSL Negotiations progress, the need for further direction on key issues (such as land, legal issues and implementation) continues to rise. As such, the MCK Council of Chiefs has directed the SSSL Team to strengthen the consultative approach of the SSSL Land Grievance Negotiations. A new and highly engaging approach for consulting the community was developed to achieve this goal. This new approach is guided by the following principles and values:

  • Direct engagement between leadership/negotiators and participants – All consultation sessions are facilitated by leadership
  • Objectivity and neutrality – Every effort is made to ensure participants’ feedback and positions are accurately recorded, reflected and reported. Documentation of consultation sessions and the formulation of key findings and recommendations are conducted independently from leadership.
  • Accessibility, flexibility and adaptability – The process is designed to accommodate the needs of community members in terms of format, timeframe and approach.
  • Ongoing dialogue – The process fosters an ongoing community dialogue and embeds it at each step of the process to promote the development of community positions on key issues

The MCK Council of Chiefs and SSSL Team will be making strong efforts to consult with the community on a variety of issues as negotiations progress. Consulting the community and collecting direction on key issues ensures that the negotiations positions adopted by MCK are most reflective of community will, direction and temperament. The new Strategy sets out four distinct consultation phases, each addressing a specific matter relevant to negotiations, namely: Phase 1 – Public Education and awareness-raising about the SSSL and the Consultation Process; Phase 2 – Lands; Phase 3 – Key Legal Issues; and Phase 4 – Compensation and Implementation.

To ensure that the direction collected from community members is best organized, each round of consultations will focus on a key theme. It is expected that each round of consultations will last approximately two months (depending on participation and demand for sessions; subject to change should demand rise).

The MCK is extending invitations to all community members, families, organizations or other associations/groups to participate through focus groups. To schedule a focus group or meeting, contact the SSSL Team at Contact Us.

Consultations on Lands

The first round of SSSL community consultations focused on issues related to Lands. While the community had previously provided broad guiding principles for negotiations with respect to Lands in the 2006 and 2008 SSSL Community Consultations, negotiations have since reached a point where in-depth direction is needed to further inform the MCK’s positions at the table.

The MCK Council of Chiefs launched the SSSL Consultations on Lands at a Community SSSL Consultation Session on December 2nd, 2014. This larger session was followed by a series of small focus groups, meetings, and face-to-face meetings, which lasted until the end of February 2015.

Since then, the SSSL Team has been working on transcribing consultations sessions notes, organizing and synthesizing feedback, drawing findings from the results, formulating recommendations and drafting a SSSL Lands Consultation Report.

The MCK Council of Chiefs will be launching SSSL Consultations on Lands with a Community SSSL Consultation Session on December 2nd. This larger session will be followed by a series of small focus groups, meetings, and face-to-face meetings, for a period of approximately two months. At the end of the consultations phase (late January), another larger Community SSSL Consultation Session will be held to report and confirm the results of the consultation on Lands.

The MCK is extending invitations to all community members, families, organizations or other associations/groups to participate through focus groups. To schedule a focus group or meeting, contact the SSSL Team at Contact Us.

Previous Consultations: Guiding principles for negotiations with respect to Lands

As part of the MCK’s commitment to seek community direction to inform its negotiation positions relating to the SSSL Grievance, two community consultations were previously conducted in Kahnawà:ke between 2006 and 2008. These two processes had different objectives, adopted different methodologies and asked different questions.

A first round of consultations was conducted in Kahnawà:ke during the summer and early fall of 2006 by an Independent Community Consultation team. Among other objectives, this process aimed at assessing community knowledge and awareness of the historical background of the grievance, and to gather comments on key legal issues. 133 community members participated in this process.

A second round was conducted by the Ratirhiwaro:roks Seigneury Community Group between October 2007 and April 2008, this time to provide an update to Kahnawa’kehró:non about the progress of the grievance and to consult community members on the type of settlement they would like to receive. 462 community members participated in this project.

The MCK has drawn three broad principles from the final reports of previous consultations with respect to lands. The following principles represent the general views of participants on the issue of lands:

  • Principle #1 – Land is the priority for resolution.
    • Participants stressed the importance of securing a land base sufficient to ensure the well-being of the community and future generations. Many indicated that efforts should be focused on getting SSSL lands back as a priority. Otherwise, returned lands should be close to Kahnawà:ke, at least equal in size as the land that was taken, have “reserve status” (i.e. be tax-free), be clean and allow for a variety of uses (residential, agricultural, etc.). In the Ratirhiwaro:roks consultation, many participants considered the possibility of accepting a mix of lands and financial compensation, but most insisted on the importance of both lands and monetary compensation being used to benefit the whole community.
  • Principle #2 – Title is not negotiable; surrender, under any form, is not acceptable.
    • Participants made clear that decision-making must consider the larger historical, political, legal and cultural context which frames land issues for the people of Kahnawá:ke. For example, the current process should not undermine a future Haudenosaunee/Nation claim to traditional territory.
  • Principle #3 – Decision-making about issues related to Lands should take into consideration cultural principles and community values.
    • Participants expect decision-making relating to SSSL lands to reflect the community’s principles and values. The importance of maintaining lands for the collective, honouring the role and responsibilities of Kanien:keha’ka women in relation to land and adhering to the Seven Generations principle in decision-making are some examples of principles and values which should be reflected in all decision-making processes.

Status of Claims

Seigneury of Sault St-Louis Land Grievance

Status: Offer to negotiate extended by Canada in 2003 and accepted by MCK; Negotiations Protocol signed in 2005 and renewed in 2010. The MCK is currently awaiting confirmation of the renewal of the negotiations mandate following the 2015 federal election.

Specific Claims:

Mercier Bridge and Approaches

Claim submitted: May 2, 2012
Status: Claim reviewed for admissibility; Minimum Standard met; Notice of rejection received on July 7, 2015.
Follow-up / Next steps: MCK currently assessing options for follow-up.

CPR Railway

Claim submitted: August 16, 2013
Status: Minimum Standard met; In Review/Assessment by Canada
Deadline for AANDC to respond: November 6th, 2016

CSX Railway

Claim submitted: March 24, 2014
Status: Minimum Standard met; In Review/Assessment by Canada
Deadline for AANDC to respond: September 10th, 2017

Hydro Line 3

Claim submitted: March 15, 2015
Status: Minimum Standard met; In Review/Assessment by Canada

Hydro Line 1

Projected submission date: TBD
Status: Ready for submission; pending approval.

Hydro Line 2

Projected submission date: TBD
Status: In Research / Development

Hydro Line 4

Projected submission date: TBD
Status: In Research / Development

St. Lawrence Seaway Authority

Projected submission date: TBD
Status: In Research/Development