Mary Laronde and I shared a conversation a few weeks ago about the importance of her Teme-Augama Anishnabai homeland. She referenced how Ontario and the Federal government are undermining their confirmed rights as stewards of the Temagami territory.
Mary said the Canadian and provincial deals with the Metis Nation of Ontario amount to an incursion of territory by pen, suggesting it will lead to corporate raiding of resources if left unchecked.
There’s more than 5,000 years of archeological evidence of their continual presence in the precious ancient place, she explained, with court affirmation of their inherent rights as Indigenous peoples here.
Spring fed and bountiful, a rich watershed with old growth forests with rivers that flow in all directions, Mary said it should be considered a wonder and protected as a World Heritage Site if that is what it takes.
"It’s always been about the land."
Mary and I met in 1995 while I was editor of the Anishinabek News, published by the Union of Ontario Indians – Anishinabek Nation. Before that, she worked alongside Gary Potts during the historic land caution legal battle over stewardship of a wide swath of TAA territory. You may have heard about the Red Squirrel Road blockade in 1988-89. Ultimately, the 17-year effort was defeated but the Supreme Court noted that the TAA was due outstanding fiduciary obligations under the 1850 Robinson Huron Treaty, despite being illegally adhered (they were non-signatories).
I’ve interviewed Nipissing First Nation Chief Scott McLeod-Shabogesic about the same issues involving the provincial and federal governments agreements with the MNO. I’m open to interviewing a representative of the group some day to better understand their perspective. From everything I’ve read on the subject and seen reported, this area wasn’t an established home community for Metis, although some lived here and some part-Indigenous people connected with them. I think there’s a difference.

0:36 Mary is not speaking as elected TAA representative
1:40 Agenda to protect land, water, trees
3:31 Is Ontario, Canada, Metis Nation of Ontario agreements a threat?
4:09 It’s a “sham”
6:40 What does Indigenous even mean then?
8:41 Treaty education
10:14 Never signed treaty
16:24 Learned to be ‘ashamed of myself’
21:52 Elder Arthur Solomon and Dr. Davis, Ethnobotonist
29:14 Treaty is not a sale of land
36:43 People of the Deep Water
40:03 In 1877, lumbermen came
45:36 Picked spot for reserve
51:31 Grandfather’s name on petition
55:19 Never a Metis community there
58:33 Somebody’s got to be indigenous right
1:01:48 ‘Basically Indian Agents’
1:03:58 They didn’t consult
1:05:31 Lawsuit against Ontario, two intruders

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Life views from North Bay, Ontario, Canada, with snapshots of rural living, sports and politics mixed with podcasts by a long-time story teller. Small Town Times Productions is the name of Dave Dale’s  communication business, which publishes content for online and print applications. The flagship print publication is the Back in the Bay Magazine, which […]

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