Sayisi Dene First Nation Relocation Claim

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Canada has publicly apologized for relocating the Sayisi Dene in the 1950s and 1960s. The apology flows from a settlement concluded with the Sayisi Dene First Nation.

Text description for Looking back: History of the relocation

 

Looking Back: History of the Relocation

1956: Without proper planning/consultation, Canada relocated Sayisi Dene from their traditional territory to unfamiliar lands (where there was no adequate shelter, supplies or game to hunt)

1959-1967: Sayisi Dene were relocated to Churchill, where they suffered harm, death and other losses and lived in deplorable conditions at Camp 10 (w/o heat, hydro, running water or proper sanitation) and near cemetery (bad omen)

1967: The community was relocated again to Dene Village (where conditions were no better, with continuing hunger, despair and hardship)

1973: Members moved back to their traditional territory

1981: Reserve established at Tadoule Lake

Note: For centuries, the Sayisi Dene hunted caribou in what is now northern Manitoba, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. Their thriving culture and economy were closely tied to this traditional way of life.

Text description for Just the facts: the Relocation Claim Settlement Agreement and Timeline: Resolution process between Canada and Sayisi Dene

 

Just the Facts: the Relocation Claim Settlement Agreement

There are 816 Sayisi Dene members (313 on reserve and 503 off reserve)

97 percent of First Nation members who voted, approved the settlement

The Settlement includes:

$33.6 million from Canada (paid into a Trust for benefit of current/future generations)

13,000 acres of prov. Crown land to be added to First Nation's reserve

 

Timeline: Resolution process between Canada and Sayisi Dene

The Sayisi Dene have long sought a resolution, filing their relocation claim with Canada in 1999.

Exploratory talks between Canada and the First Nation started in 2009.

Note: In 2010, Manitoba apologized for its part in 1956 relocation and offered provincial Crown land to the First Nation

Settlement discussions between Canada and the First Nation began in 2012.

Members approved the settlement in March 2016.

In July 2016, Canada signed the settlement.

The federal apology for the relocation was made in August 2016. Canada apologized to the Sayisi Dene for relocation at ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of relocation and the conclusion of a settlement

Photo gallery

For centuries, the Sayisi Dene hunted caribou in what is now northern Manitoba, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. Their thriving culture and economy were closely tied to this traditional way of life.

Images from the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives (HBCA), Archives of Manitoba.

Close-up of beadwork. 1947. Photographer: Richard Harrington, Archives of Manitoba, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, HBCA 1987/363-I-77/9

"Tozesozi beating drum" 1947. Photographer: Richard Harrington. Archives of Manitoba, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, HBCA 1987/363-I-79/1

"Drying moss in open air – [Sayisi Dene] woman - picture taken around Duck Lake post on Nejanilini Lake, Northern Manitoba." 1947. Photographer: Richard Harrington. Archives of Manitoba, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, HBCA 1987/363-I-75/8

"Typical [Sayisi Dene] encampment – picture taken around Duck Lake post, Nejanilini Lake, Northern Manitoba." [Left to right: Mary Ann Thorassie, Joe Thorassie, John Thorassie, Mary Cheekie, Moses Thorassie]. 1947. Photographer: Richard Harrington. Note: Names provided by Caroline Bjorklund of the Sayisi Dene First Nation. Archives of Manitoba, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives. HBCA 1987/363-I-76/5

"[Sayisi Dene] woman sewing – picture taken around Duck Lake post on Nejanilini Lake, Northern Manitoba." 1947. Photographer: Richard Harrington. Archives of Manitoba, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives. HBCA 1987/363-I-71/20

"[Sayisi Dene man] in Northern Manitoba skinning a cariboo." 1947. Photographer: Richard Harrington. Archives of Manitoba, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives. HBCA 1987/363-I-74/3

"[Sayisi Dene] girls – picture taken around Duck Lake post on Nejanilini Lake, Northern Manitoba." 1947. Photographer: Richard Harrington. Archives of Manitoba, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives. HBCA 1987/363-I-72/7

"[Sayisi Dene] boys – picture taken around Duck Lake post on Nejanilini Lake, Northern Manitoba." 1947. Photographer: Richard Harrington. Archives of Manitoba, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives. HBCA 1987/363-I-72/8

"Getting water through the ice – [Robinson Thorassie] – picture taken around Duck Lake post on Nejanilini Lake, Northern Manitoba."1947. Photographer: Richard Harrington. Note: Name provided by Peter Thorassie of the Sayisi Dene First Nation. Archives of Manitoba, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives. HBCA 1987/363-I-71/1

"[Sayisi Dene] encampment – picture taken around Duck Lake post, Nejanilini Lake, Northern Manitoba." 1947. Photographer: Richard Harrington. Archives of Manitoba, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives. HBCA 1987/363-I-76/2

"[Sayisi Dene] mother and child – picture taken around Duck Lake post on Nejanilini Lake, Northern Manitoba." 1947. Photographer: Richard Harrington. Archives of Manitoba, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives. HBCA 1987/363-I-72/9

"Turned right side out, the moccasin begins to take shape." 1947. Photographer: Richard Harrington. Note: Captions taken from "Making Moccasins" by Richard Harrington, The Beaver, June 1953 pages 36-37.1947. Photographer: Richard Harrington. Archives of Manitoba, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives.HBCA1987/363-I-77/3

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