Response of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation to Assertion of Métis Rights in the Territory

Click Here to View the Full PDF

Chief's Letter re: Métis rights assertions

The Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) is made up of the Saugeen First Nation and the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation. Since time immemorial, SON's ancestors have existed on the lands and waters of our Territory, known to us as Saukiing Anishnaabekiing, a map of which is attached. Our connection to our lands and waters runs deep. Our Territory has defined and sustained us as a people and is central to who we are as a Nation. SON and its members hold and exercise exclusive Aboriginal and treaty rights throughout our Territory. These rights, including SON's right to fish commercially in its traditional waters, are affirmed and protected by s. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and have been recognized in court (see R v. Jones, 1993 CanLII 8684).

In recent years, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) and the Historic Saugeen Métis (HSM), have been asserting rights in SON's Territory. We are troubled that organizations, proponents and governments are engaging with MNO and HSM to arrange events regarding alleged Métis rights and activities occurring on SON's Territory.

No Métis group has treaties, rights or connection to SON's Territory. While these groups are free to self-identify and reside in our Territory as they wish, they have no basis for asserting a historical or cultural connection to our Territory nor a basis for any assertion of rights. That is why we are greatly concerned about organizations, proponents and governments engaging with MNO or HSM, which enables them to purport to have historical or cultural connection to our lands and waters.

The MNO and its regional council, the Georgian Bay Métis Council (GBMC), claim a broad harvesting territory that encompasses SON's Territory. The GBMC states that they originate from Métis families who migrated from Michilimackinac or Drummond Island to Penetanguishene. There are no treaties entitling this group to exercise their rights to SON Territory, nor do they share the longstanding history to the land and waters as SON does. The history they purport to have does not entitle them to rights to SON's Territory.

The HSM cite the "Piché Wampum of 1818" as the source of their claims to exercise rights on SON's Territory. This claim is unsupported by the historical evidence, which we summarize here.

  • The "Piché Wampum of 1818" 2was not a symbol from SON inviting the HSM's alleged ancestors to "share unmolested resources of the Saugeen Territory"; the strings of shell beads were simply a personal possession passed from a Saugeen resident who had married Piché, a fur trader, to Mrs. Augustine Grandeville, a Red River Métis woman who had relocated to Saugeen. In any case, a Saugeen resident acting individually could not make such an arrangement with respect to SON's resources and rights, whic hare held collectively by SON as a Nation.
  • The self-identifying Métis that make up HSM's membership do not have any genealogical connection between Piché and his Saugeen wife, nor with Mrs. Grandeville, whose lineage ended with her child. While HSM's members may be people who have lived on our Territory, this does not entitle them to assert historic or cultural connection over our Territory.

Given this context, we urge organizations, proponents and governments to halt any plans for engagement with the MNO and HSM. In order to advance the goal of reconciliation, third-parties should engage and cooperate with SON, the actual rights holders in the Territory, not those who assert to have rights in the area without any historical or legal foundation.

SON would be pleased to answer any questions about rights and traditional activities on our land and waters, and share our knowledge with you through various engagements. 



Ogimaa Gregory Nadjiwon                                           Ogimaa Conrad Ritchie
Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation             Saugeen First Nation


SON Treaty Map

Kurt Kivell

Communications Manager | Environment Office