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Document Package
Aboriginal Peoples and the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway

Source No. 1

Note to Students:
The following excerpt was taken from a report written by James Morrison entitled Treaty Research Report: Treaty No. 9 (1905-1906). A full version of the report is available at www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/pr/trts/hti/t9/tre9_e.pdf.

"What seems to have precipitated matters was a letter Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier had received in late April of 1904, announcing the discovery of minerals along the route of the new Grand Trunk Pacific Railway through northwestern Ontario and reminding him that Indian rights in the area had still not been ceded.21 On April 30, the deputy superintendent general wrote the Ontario commissioner of Crown lands outlining the 'main stipulations upon which the treaty would be based:'

"It is proposed to offer the Indians a maximum annuity of $4.00 a head and a gratuity at the first payment of the same amount once and for all. It is further proposed to set apart reserves of sufficient area in localities chosen by the Indians with special regard for their needs, which reserves should be held in trust by the Department, free of any claims of the Province for timber upon, or base or precious metals in, upon or under the soil. These Reserves should be surveyed and confirmed by the Ontario Government within one year after selection by the Indians or at any time after the expiry of one year upon the request of this Department. It is proposed to provide the ordinary educational facilities afforded by day schools to be established upon Reserves. It is contended that as the entire area of the land will, by this treaty, remain with the Province free for all Indian claims, the financial responsibility, as well as the provision of reserves, should rest with the Province of Ontario."22

 

Source No. 2

Note to Students:
The following excerpts were taken from a paper written by James A. McDonald entitled Bleeding Day and Night: The Construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Across Tsimshian Reserve Lands. McDonald's paper outlines the complex process of land surrender and claims for damages of the Tsimshian of Kitsumkalum. A full version of the paper is available at www.brandonu.ca/library/CJNS/10.1/mcdonald.pdf.

"One of the intended results, which quickly followed the announcement, was a rush to obtain timber licenses along the Skeena River (Ormsby, 1958:355) which displaced Tsimshian economic development and ignored their land claims (McDonald, 1985). . . .

". . . The Tsimshians had originally refused to sell the whole Reserve to the Company, but faced with combined forces of God, the Law, and Business, they acquiesced to the sale of 13,519 acres [5,471 hectares] for $7.50 an acre [0.4 hectares] (Lower, 1939:143). In comparison, the Fort George Indians later received over $115 per acre, plus land. . . .

"When the work crews entered Kitsumkaylum (I.R. 1) in the summer of 1908, they had already marched across eight reserves in the North Coast Agency without permission.

"Procedurally, the railway company was required to place with the government a certified copy of right of way plans for each reserve to be crossed. This was to avoid difficulties during construction and to identify what effects the crossing would have on the reserve. The company was also required to leave with the government a deposit of money to be used in settling any claims concerning the right of way. Both steps were to be completed prior to the granting of permission to enter the reserve, but in the summer of 1908 the Grand Trunk Railway was still remiss. . . .

"The company operated two camps on Kitsumkalum's I.R. 1 for their crews. One was for a subcontractor, Mr. Washtock and Company . . . There is no record of permission being requested to use the reserve or of any explanation why they did not use other available Crown lands, equally as suitable but unoccupied, which were in the immediate area. . . .

"In the spring of 1911, the people living at Kitsumkalum again had to complain to the Department of Indian Affairs. This time the company was illegally removing gravel for ballast (used in constructing the railway).The DIA did not respond quickly, but when it did, it advised the railway during the following summer to acquire additional reserve land for the Borrow pit (or gravel pit as we would call it today). This type of transaction was permitted under the Indian Act, and did not require the consent of the Band. . . .

"The Grand Trunk Pacific used Kitsumkalum's two reserves as if they had belonged to the Company, not the Band. The expropriation of land for the right of way, of gravel for the road bed, and of timber for construction proceeded without respecting or seeking the Band's wishes for these resources. In most, if not each case, the Band appears to have been consulted only after protest.

"Kitsumkalum received benefits in the form of cash compensation, work, and better transportation but, weighed against loss of land, buildings, garden, timber, access to the river front, and disturbance of the graveyard, these do not appear equivalent to the cost.

"Less specific costs were the impacts of the loss of income when river traffic came to an end, of the influx of new settlers riding the railway, and of the development and export of regional resources appropriated for foreign interests. Still more difficult to evaluate is the amount of time and energy spent by members of the community to protect their property and rights, time which could have been spent more beneficially. Finally, we can list unknown effects on morale from the continual acts of domination which repeatedly demonstrated the relative positions of the Indians, the Company, and the Government: beginning work without a permit, taking gravel, cutting timber, placing camps, refusing a foot bridge. These actions declared the contempt the Company had for Kitsumkalum's wishes, and for local populations in general. The land question was ignored, the graveyard desecrated, the feelings of individuals were not compensated, and Tsimshian legal ways were ignored. . . .

". . . The railroad was constructed without general consultation and without resolving the fundamental claims the Tsimshians had declared to the land. This approach has persisted, causing the Band to enter litigation in the 1980s over issues first broached in 1908. . . .

"There is a footnote to this story. Although the specific issues discussed here have passed into history, the general struggle has continued into the 1980s, the period during which I researched this paper. In fact, earlier versions of this work (McDonald, 1981a; 1981b) were prepared at the request of the Band as a contribution to understanding contemporary issues surrounding the presence of the railway on the reserve. In 1984 and 1986, specific claims were filed against the railway (now CN rail) regarding the amount of land appropriated, the use of adjacent reserve lands, damage to reserve lands, and compensation for reserve resources. These claims are currently under review (A. Bolton, pers. comm., 1990)."

 

Source No. 3

Note to Students:
The following entries are status summaries of land claims related to the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, which were taken from the Public Information Status Report published by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (Reporting Periods: April 1, 1970 to September 30, 2007 and March 31, 1970 to December 31, 2005). The entries are listed by province and include the claimant's name and the substance of the claim.

The following entries were taken from www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ps/clm/pis_e.pdf.

Claim Status Descriptions:
ACT: Claims in Active Negotiations
AR: Date referred for Administrative Remedy
BA: Specific Claims Branch Research Report sent to Claimant;
DOJ: Department of Justice preparing Preliminary Legal Opinion
FCL: File closed
INACT: Claims in Inactive Negotiations
ISCC: Claims in the ISCC Process
LIT: Claims in Active Litigation
LOS: Legal Opinion Signed
NLO: No Lawful Obligation found
RES: Research
SET: Claim settled
SUB/REV: Claim received and under review by Specific Claims Branch

Alberta

Paul (BAND-441)
Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Rail Line Expropriation
Date Received by SCB: 2004/12/01
Current Status: RES
Registry File Number: B8260-836

The FN alleges that the Crown failed to comply with the Railway Act when it authorized the expropriation. Section 46 of the Indian Act alone was not sufficient to expropriate reserve lands. The FN was then deprived of the use of the right of way lands for the entire period from 1908 to the present day without lawful reason.

British Columbia

Gitwangak (BAND-536)
Grand Trunk Pacific Railway RoWs - IR#s 1 - 3 - 8
Date Received by SCB: 2006/02/21
Current Status: DOJ
Registry File Number: BC536-C02

FN alleges inadequate compensation for the GTPR Railway RoW's, relating to loss of revenue, trespass, injurious affection, wrongful alienation, and other damages, not limited to burial grounds, from 1908 to the present.

Kitselas (BAND-680)
Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
Date Received by SCB: 1996/06/04
Current Status: ISCC
Registry File Number: BC680-C03

Alleged that lands taken through the FN's Kitselas, Chimdemash and Kshish IRs for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway were improperly taken, and the FN did not receive adequate compensation for these lands.

Moricetown (BAND-530)
Moricetown IR 2 - Grand Trunk Pacific CNR
Date Received by SCB: 2005/06/07
Current Status: DOJ
Registry File Number: BC530-C1

Alleges Canada breached fiduciary duty when it granted a R/W and status ground to GTP in 1909, as well, alleges breach of fiduciary duty when it allowed a pipeline easement on IR #2 in 1921.

Nadleh Whuten (BAND-612)
GTPR Hospital on Nautley I.R. 1
Date Received by SCB: 2002/03/11
Current Status: DOJ
Registry File Number: BC612-C04

The claim asserts an unauthorized trespass by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway on I.R. 1 in 1913-1914.

Ontario

Fort William (BAND-187)
Railway
Date Received by SCB: 1998/02/26
Current Status: INACT
Registry File Number: B8260-661

Alleged wrongful expropriation and breach of fiduciary obligations to the FN when the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company expropriated 1600 acres in 1905.

The following entries were taken from www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ps/clm/pis2_e.pdf.

British Columbia

Kitselas (BAND-680)
Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
Date Received by SCB: 1996/06/04
Current Status: NLO
Registry File Number:BC680-C03

Claim Representatives: DOJ Officers - Mladen, Micha

Alleged that lands taken through the FN's Kitselas, Chimdemash and Kshish IRs for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway were improperly taken, and the FN did not receive adequate compensation for these lands.

Moricetown (BAND-530)
Moricetown IR 2 - Grand Trunk Pacific CNR
Date Received by SCB: 2005/06/07
Current Status: RES
Registry File Number: BC530-C1

Claim Representatives: - None

Alleges Canada breached fiduciary duty when it granted a R/W and status ground to GTP in 1909, as well, alleges breach of fiduciary duty when it allowed a pipeline easement on IR #2 in 1921.

Nadleh Whuten (BAND-612)
GTPR Hospital on Nautley I.R. 1
Date Received by SCB: 2002/03/11
Current Status: DOJ
Registry File Number: BC612-C04

Claim Representatives: - None

The claim asserts an unauthorized trespass by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway on I.R. 1 in 1913-1914.

The following entry was taken from www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ps/clm/pis7_e.pdf.

Ontario

Fort William (BAND-187)
Railway
Date Received by SCB: 1998/02/26
Current Status: INACT
Registry File Number: B8260-661

SCB Senior Negotiators - Wallace, Way
SCB Negotiation Analysts - Daigle, Marie-Lauren
DOJ Officers - Dagenais, Ri

Alleged wrongful expropriation and breach of fiduciary obligations to the FN when the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company expropriated 1600 acres in 1905.

The following entry was taken from www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ps/clm/pis1_e.pdf.

Alberta

Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Rail Line Expropriation
Date Received by SCB: 2004/12/01
Current Status: RES
Registry File Number: B8260-836

Claim Representatives: SCB Research Analysts - Sellers, Kirst

The FN alleges that the Crown failed to comply with the Railway Act when it authorized the expropriation. Section 46 of the Indian Act alone was not sufficient to expropriate reserve lands. The FN was then deprived of the use of the right of way lands for the entire period from 1908 to the present day without lawful reason.

 

Source No. 4

Note to Students:
The following news release was taken from the Indian and Northern Affairs website (www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/nr/prs/j-a2002/2-02110_e.html). As you read the news release, ask yourself:

  • What are the issues and challenges?
  • Where could you find more information?
  • Can a satisfactory settlement agreement be reached?

News Release Communiqué

2-02110

Agreement Between CPR and Five B.C. First Nations Celebrated

Seabird Island, B.C. (January 17, 2002) - The Government of Canada, Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and the Boothroyd, Cook's Ferry, Matsqui, Seabird Island, and Skuppah Indian Bands today mark the passing of the Property Assessment and Taxation (Railway Right-of-Way) Regulations and completion of all legal steps required for the agreed settlement of the litigation involving CPR and the five First Nations.

"We've already held one celebration at Seabird Island to acknowledge the strong 'yes' vote for settlement from all five Bands. Now we'll be celebrating again to say 'well done' to everyone involved," said Councillor Clem Seymour, Seabird Island.

The Property Assessment and Taxation (Railway Right-of-Way) Regulations came into effect November 8, 2001 and are the first regulations under the Indian Act to assist in the valuation of property and the setting of property tax rates on reserve. The regulations follow the ratification and signing of individual settlement agreements with each of the five First Nations, which took place last year.

"This agreement is the result of constructive dialogue, collaboration and co-operation between CPR and the five First Nations. It is tangible evidence of the meaningful commitment the railway has made to improving relationships with neighbours and communities," said John Walsh, Vice-President of Real Estate at CPR.

"These regulations are the first of their kind under the Indian Act," said Senator Mobina Jaffer. "This is a landmark agreement and an excellent example of how working together can lead to innovative solutions that can benefit all parties."

The regulations and settlement agreements provide commercial certainty for CPR and utilities that have business interests on reserves by providing for First Nation property taxation of CPR right-of-way interests for these five First Nations.

For further information, please contact:

Clem Seymour
Seabird Island First Nation
604-796-2177

Ian La Couvee
Canadian Pacific Railway
403-319-6196
email: ian_la_couvee@cpr.ca

Diane Gielis
Senior Advisor, Communications and Consultation
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
604-775-8145


21. Thos. B. Irving to Laurier, 17 April 1904. Treaty File.

22. Pedley to E.J. Davis, 30 April 1901. Treaty File.