Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation and Agency One Chiefs sign Declaration of Intent with Fort Frances.

Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation and Agency One Chiefs sign Declaration of Intent with Fort Frances.

Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation and Agency One Chiefs sign Declaration of Intent with Fort Frances.

Fort Frances, Ontario – Today, Mayor June Caul signed a Declaration of Intent & Friendship with Couchiching, Mitaanjigamiing, Naicatchewenin and Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nations to work towards an agreement on Agency One Lands.

“Today is momentous step to reclaim our traditional lands in Treaty 3 Territory.” Stated Chief Will Windigo of Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation. “Agency One Chiefs have always expressed our interest to work together with the Town of Fort Frances to develop a brighter future that will benefit everyone.”

The Agency One First Nations brought a case against Canada and Ontario saying that we were not properly involved in the decisions about the Agency One lands, and were not compensated adequately when their lands were taken and used which resulted in the Agreement in March of 2018.

The signing of the Declaration of Intent and Friendship has developed a clear path in the spirit of reconciliation to honour the Treaty Number 3 commitments to the land in and around the Town of Fort Frances, which includes Point Park.

“We know how important the lands are to Agency One First Nations.” Added Chief Windigo, “We recognize we must work together to move this process forward. There have been many challenges along the way and now have a mutual understanding to utilize these lands to create economic development opportunities for each partner today and into the future.”

Through Treaty Three, we agreed to share the land in what would become Ontario. Under that Treaty, the Crown and Anishinaabe agreed, among other things, that some local lands would be set aside for the exclusive use and benefit of our First Nations: Couchiching, Mitaanjigamiing, Naicatchewenin and Nigigoonsiminikaaning. These lands eventually came to be known as the “Agency One Reserve”. They are located on Rainy Lake immediately south of Couchiching Reserve, next to the Town of Fort Frances.