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New Brunswick First Nations filing lawsuit to seek Aboriginal title

FREDERICTON — Six First Nations in New Brunswick announced today they will be filing a lawsuit seeking title to their traditional lands in New Brunswick, which include much of the western half of the province.

Leaders from the Wolastoqey Nation gathered at St. Anne’s Point in Fredericton to announce their claim against the governments of New Brunswick and Canada.

Chief Patricia Bernard of the Matawaskiye First Nation issued a statement saying Indigenous people in New Brunswick signed treaties with the Crown between 1725 and 1778, agreeing to peace and friendship with settlers — but she says those treaties did not surrender any land.

Chief Ross Perley of the Neqotkuk First Nation says European settlers have used the land and rivers to generate wealth while Indigenous people have been left to struggle in poverty.

The group says the Wolastoqey Nation never ceded ownership of its lands, which means the nation’s Aboriginal title was never extinguished.

The chiefs say they have attempted to resolve these issues through negotiation but that approach has failed.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 5, 2020

The Canadian Press


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