The Notice of Assertions was completed and approved in 2020.
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Mississauga First Nation, or Misswezhaging, gives formal notice, via Chief and Council and through its Constitution and as a signatory of the Robinson Huron Treaty that we retain unhindered access and jurisdiction over its Traditional Territory. This notice is for all Governments, Ministries, Municipalities, and Non-government Organizations that fall within Mississauga First Nations Traditional Territory.
In 1850, Crown Commissioner Robinson negotiated with the Anishinabek, two treaties at Sault Ste. Marie, now known as the Robinson Huron and Robinson Superior Treaties. In the Robinson Huron Treaty, it outlines that Ponekeosh and his Band would be reserved the land contained between the River Mississagi and the River Penebewabecong, up to the first rapids.
Mississauga First Nation signed such agreements as a Sovereign Nation. As Mississauga Nation has historically done in the past with other such agreements, such as the One Dish One Spoon Treaty with the Haudenosaunee or the Treaty of Niagara with the English Crown. In each of these, the Crown recognized the Mississauga Nation as an independent Nation in the agreement. Mississauga First Nation has never surrendered rights to access or use the resources within its Traditional Territories. The Robinson-Huron Treaty Phase 1 decision on December 21, 2018, noted that the crown was required to top up payments based on resources extracted over the past 150 years and failed to do so.
Mississauga First Nation recognizes its members' rights and access to their Traditional Territory. Mississauga First Nation allows any members access to hunting, fishing, or gathering that is done according to Mississauga tradition and customs. This includes, but is not limited to, building a permanent or non-permanent structure within our traditional territory to either hunt, trap, fish, or gather, as per Mississauga tradition (Dowenjigen Policy).
The Mississauga Nations Traditional Territory extends past The Upper Mississaugi and extends towards the Arctic Watershed. Mississauga ancestors and current Mississaugas travel the extent of the Mississaugi River utilizing its abundant resources. The River begins at Lake Huron and extends as far as Bark Lake and beyond. The Mississauga Nation falls within the Anishinabek Nation. Mississauga First Nation recognizes its 3 bordering sister First Nations and have always cooperated with them since their arrival in our territory. Mississauga First Nation has always and never surrendered its obligations to the Creator, to exercise its right to protect its Traditional Territory and those resources within it, since time immemorial.
The Creator chose our Territory and put it here for the Mississauga peoples to live in peace and harmony with the environment. Our oral tradition, which is handed down by our Elders, tells of the Mississaugas and their governing traditional systems, including the clan system, living on the mouth Mississaugi River since time immemorial, where still today the community is located. Although our community is located within the “existing reserve” boundary and the 1994 Land Settlement, the authority of MFN to govern its lands and resources flow from the Creator to the people of the MFN, and from the people to Chief and Council according to the culture, traditions, customs and laws of our First Nation.
Mississauga First Nation maintains and asserts its rights to its resources. These resources included, but are not limited to fish, including any commercial fishery and management of any fishery the First Nation wishes to take part in, wildlife and biosphere resource management, forest management (including provisions against Aerial Spraying), mines and minerals, waters and watersheds, land, and the environment.
In addition to substantive rights to manage and conserve, Mississauga First Nation asserts its right to be engaged about development, exploitation or proposals that will impact these resources, the environment or the Rights and Interests of Mississauga First Nation for the next seven generations. We demand these consultations be the “free, prior and informed consent” of Mississauga First Nation as provided for in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which is consistent with the custom of Mississauga First Nation and its Misswezahging Constitution.
Mississauga First Nation prides itself as a good neighbour to other First Nations and to other communities. While unyielding in its assertion of its rights to resources and to shared resources, Mississauga First Nation and its members do not seek out confrontation and do seek to avoid it whenever possible. Mississauga First Nation is always prepared to proceed on the basis of the Seven Grandfather Teachings to seek mutual understanding and to consider the free, prior and informed consent referred to above.
This notice of assertions will assist interested parties and those who should be interested, in understanding Mississauga First Nation's position historically and in the modern political, social, economic, and legal fabric. We welcome requests for further information. We also look forward to building on the many positive relationships we have enjoyed over the years.
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W. Bissiallon, Chi-Naakinagewin Director
A. Sayers, Naakinagewin Coordinator
K. Lofstrom, Executive Assistant