Cows & Ploughs Update
Chief and Council have retained Maurice Law Barristers & Solicitors to pursue a specific claim regarding Canada’s failure to provide the agricultural benefits promised to Ahtahkakoop under Treaty 6. This type of claim is also known as “Cows and Ploughs”.
Maurice Law is a boutique Aboriginal law firm whose main area of practice is specific claims. Maurice Law participated at the negotiation table for their clients in Treaty 8 in relation to their agricultural benefits claims. They are using their experience in successfully negotiating this type of claim through present negotiations with Canada in relation to one Treaty 6 agricultural benefits claim near Ahtahkakoop. For those First Nations Maurice Law represents, they have already undertaken the necessary historical research to understand the federal policies and historical narrative regarding the federal government’s conduct. They have also completed the legal research required to complete the submission.
In order to begin advancing the Cows and Ploughs claim, Maurice Law has engaged an expert in history to draft a report specific to Ahtahkakoop. The expert will research Indian agent ledgers to determine what was provided to Ahtahkakoop in relation to agricultural benefits. The expert will then determine from that information and the specific agricultural benefits that were promised under Treaty 6 to determine our shortfall, meaning what should have been provided to the First Nation. This will form the basis for the claim.
Maurice Law will then draft a legal submission detailing the legal arguments regarding treaty benefits, treaty interpretation, provide the historical narrative, the shortfall and how the shortfall of agricultural implements has impacted the community. Once the submission is submitted to the Specific Claims Branch, Canada has three years to determine if the claim will be accepted for negotiations. We have been assured that Maurice Law will endeavor to press for Canada to review the claim sooner and will also press for a negotiated resolution of the matter.
As we advance through the process we will continue to keep the community apprised of any developments. Chief and Council will continue to provide instructions to legal counsel as the Claim advances. We will plan community information meetings once we have been informed of whether or not the claim has been accepted for negotiation and discuss next steps.