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Canadian Native Law Reporter. Volume 1992, Number 1 (1992), p. 40-69.


Aboriginial; Canada; land; title


On August 15, 1991, the Supreme Court of Canada handed down its decision in Bear Island Foundation v. The Queen:, ending a legal battle the Ontario government had been waging for nearly two decades against the Teme-Augama Anishnabai, an Algonkian First Nation inhabiting the Lake Temagami region of North-Eastern Ontario. The legal dispute began in 1973 when the Teme-Augama Anishnabai filed cautions in land titles offices in the region giving notice that they had Aboriginal title to lands which the province claimed as its own. Ontario commenced legal action to have the cautions removed, alleging that the Teme-Augama Anishnabai had no drum to Abongmal title, or if they did that their title had been extinguished by the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850. At trial, Mr. Justice Steele accepted Ontario's contentions, deciding that even if the Teme-Augama Anishnabai had succeeded in proving their Aboringinal title (which he found they did not), the treaty extinguished it. Upholding Steele's decision, the Ontario Court of Appeal avoided the issue of proof of Aboriginal title by assuming, without deciding, that the Teme-Augama Anishnabai had Aboriginal land rights before the Robinson-Huron treaty was signed.

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