When do you think people are going to learn? How many times are they going to try and sell or develop land that is claimed under treaty rights by a First Nations tribe? You'd have thought they'd have learned from the mess that's happening in Caledonia in South Western Ontario where the Six Nations Reserve has set up a blockade around a housing development's construction site.
A report in the December issue of The Mohawk Nation Drummer tells how the town of Deseronto is doing just that. Located in Eastern Ontario, bordering the Tyendinaga Mohawk reserve, they are trying to illegally develop treaty land. Eight hundred and twenty-seven acres of land on the eastern edge of the reserve was illegally removed from the possession of the Mohawks in 1837. The Mohawks at the time had leased it to one man, who then left the land as an inheritance to his grandson. The government at the time illegally gave John Cullbertson, the grandson, a crown grant for the land.
In 1995 the Tyendinaga Band Council submitted a claim for the return of the land, which was upheld by the Department of Justice, who agreed the land had never been surrendered nor had any compensation been awarded the Mohawks at the time. It was agreed a settlement would be negotiated with the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs in the year 2003. The Mohawks are still waiting.
The Royal Proclamation of 1763 that stipulated all lands occupied by the First Nations people could only be purchased or leased from them by the Crown (read government now) has been accepted by the Supreme Court of Canada as the law regarding title to disputed territory. If you had any brains you'd consider any land that had an outstanding land claim against it as being unsuitable for anything.
Municipal governments and some provinces are still trying to play fast and loose with the treaties and are illegally disposing of the lands for their own profit. Even when they are fully conversant with the circumstances, as were all parties involved in the Caledonia situation, they are going ahead and making deals with private interests. Perhaps they are hoping that if the courts see populated housing developments on the territory they won't cede it back to Native control, and allow the municipality to continue to collect all tax revenues.