‘Done being patient’: Treaty 4 First Nations suing Ottawa over $5 annuity payments

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A group of First Nations on the Prairies have filed proposed class-action lawsuits against the federal government.
    
They allege Ottawa has not kept its end of the bargain over annuity payments after signing Treaty 4 nearly 150 years ago.
    
Treaty 4 covers southeast Alberta, southern Saskatchewan and west-central Manitoba.
    
During treaty negotiations, Canada promised it would pay each man, woman and child a 5-dollar annuity each year.
    
The lawsuits allege the federal government failed to increase those annuities in a way that maintains their value.
    
The documents say annuities have never increased with the rate of inflation, and the First Nations believed they would have the same purchasing power as they did 150 years ago.
    
The lawsuits are seeking 100-million dollars in punitive damages and say the annuities should be raised to a rate that reflects their real value.
    
The allegations have not been proven in court, and no statements of defence have been filed.
    
The federal government says it's aware of the claims and is deciding next steps.