$80B land claim brings court case to Bruce County

It’s a court case that’s expected to last two years, but it could bring to an end a centuries-old land claim.

The Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) is seeking the return of 10 per cent of Crown Land, including national parks in the Bruce Peninsula.

They aren’t seeking any private land, but are asking for up to $90 billion in compensation for the sale of land, by the Crown, over the past 150 years.

They are also seeking aboriginal title to a vast section of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, stretching from Goderich to Tobermory and over to Collingwood.

They are seeking a say in what happens to the waters, as well as more rights when it comes to fishing.

The claims date back to the signing of Treaty 72 in 1854. The Crown agreed to protect the lands, but according to the band they have not kept their promise.

The trial started earlier this month, but is hearing testimony at the James Mason Cultural Centre in the Saugeen First Nation, all this week.

Saugeen First Nation Chief Lester Anoquot says, if SON wins it’s case, landowners would notice almost no difference.

He says the native band is simply seeking to right past wrongs, and have more say in what happens in the area in the coming centuries.

Anoquot says he’s open to coming to an “out of court” settlement, as well.