Chronology of Teme-Augama Struggle


- written by the Kingston Temagami Action Group

posted on the ACAA web site, September 19 1996

The Supreme Court of Canada claims that the Teme-Augama Anishnabai have no land claim as they are covered under the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850. Keep this in mind as you read the following chronology.

1850 The signing of the Robinson-Huron Treaty (R-HT). It deals with much of the area surrounding Temagami, but it is not signed by any representative of the Teme-Augama Anishnabai (T-AA).

1877 Chief Tonene of the T-AA asks to be taken into treaty to gain protection from settlers. Request denied.

1883 The federal gov't acknowledges the omission of the Teme-Augama from the R-HT.

1901 Ontario establishes the Temagami Forest Reserve.

1920 Selective logging begins in the reserve.

1964 The Temagami Forest Reserve is abolished.

1970 The federal gov't creates the Bear Island Indian Reserve (in theory this was to be done as a requirement of the R-HT in 1850!).

1973 Chief Gary Potts files land cautions in 110 townships within n'Daki Menan (Temagami) and asserts Teme-Augama Anishnabai ownership. The cautions stop mining but not logging.

1978 Ontario sues the T-AA in the Supreme Court of Ontario. Prior to this date Ontario had always used the excuse that the T-AA were not covered by the R-HT to oppose giving up valuable timberland in the form of a reserve. They now argue that the T-AA have given up their sovereignty rights in the R-HT.

1983 Ontario creates the Lady Evelyn Smoothwater Provincial Park on Teme-Augama land while the suit is still before the courts.

1984 The court finds against the T-AA claiming that their land rights were signed away by a chief to the west of them in 1850. The Teme- Augama appeal.

1986 Ontario plans to begin construction of the Red Squirrel logging road but is stopped by court action and lobbying, temporarily.

June 1988 Road construction finally begins only to be blocked by the Teme-Augama Anishnabai.

Dec 1988 The blockades come down and no further construction is to occur (by court order).

Feb 1989 Ontario Court of Appeal upholds the decision against the T-AA. They appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

March 1989 The T-AA stage a one day blockade.

Spring 1989 Environmentalists carry on the blockades and more than 350 are arrested around Ontario in opposition to logging. Even soon to be Premier, Bob Rae, gets accidentally arrested.

April 1990 Development in Temagami is stopped and the gov't signs a stewardship agreement with the Teme-Augama Anishnabai.

1991 The Supreme Court of Canada rejects the T-AA appeal.

1992 Treaty negotiations begin.

1995 The Comprehensive Planning Council (CPC), a local planning body boycotted by the T-AA, recommends opening up more than 77% of Temagami to mining and logging.

July 1995 Soon after his election Premier Mike Harris promises his industry buddies that Temagami will soon be open for business. Treaty process is unilaterally ceased.

November 1995 A provincial judge lifts the land cautions and opens the region to mining for the first time in more than two decades.

June 1996 The Ministry of Natural Resources accepts the CPC's plan.

August 27, 1996 An explosion takes out a logging bridge near River Valley. The press claims the a traditionalist native group (Ma- kominising Anishnabeg) has taken responsibility. This is not as yet confirmed. [See related article]

September 4, 1996 Earthroots begins its blockade of the Rabbit Lake Road which is being extended to access old growth forest at Owain Lake. There are 22 arrests in the first two days.

September 10, 1996 Tree spiking is "discovered" by Temagami area opponents to the Earthroots campaign. No environmental group has taken credit for the action and the whole thing smacks of a set-up. The press howls.

September 13, 1996 A member of the Ma-kominising Anishnabeg begins a blockade on the Rabbit Lake logging road.

September 17, 1996 Drooling gold hungry capitalists go wild as mine staking opens up again in Temagami (for the first time since 1973). MNR deregulation has reduced permit requirements for "exploration" by 80%. The destruction begins. 11 more arrests on the Earthroots blockade.

September 18, 1996 2 more arrests on blockades.

October 15, 1996 The CD campaign in the south of Ontario opens at the Ministry of Natural Resources head office in Peterborough.

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