Decision allowing live-streaming of trail applauded by First Nations
- EFN Staff | January 09, 2018
A Court Decision issued on January 5th, 2018, to allow internet livestreaming and archiving of livestream video of the Robinson Huron Treaty (RHT) Annuity case, hailed as a step forward in reconciliation, was applauded by the Twenty-One Robinson Huron Treaty First Nations of northern Ontario, that launched the case. This is the first time in Canada that livestreaming and the archiving of the livestream video is being allowed in a Superior Court trial, and reconciliation was cited, by Justice Patricia Hennessy, as one of the main reasons for allowing it.
“Collectively, as Canadians, we suffer a deficit in understanding our history and our relationship with our Indigenous neighbors,” said Justice Hennessy in a media release. “Creating and preserving an audiovisual record of this evidence increases its usefulness and accessibility. It is a significant contribution to our national understanding.”
Ogimaa Duke Peltier, of the Robinson Huron Treaty Litigation Trust, said they see this case as involving the resurgence of the Robinson Huron Treaty Anishinaabek peoples.
“We are pleased that the Judge sees it as important enough to make sure that it is broadcast widely to our communities, who are scattered across the territory and cannot easily make it into court,” Ogimaa Peltier said. “The evidence presented in this case is a vast amount of knowledge about the Treaty and the history of this territory. First Nations citizens, especially our youth who are active in social media, ought to be able to access and view this case from wherever they are. It is also important for non-Indigenous Canadians, who have benefited from the Robinson Treaties, to be aware of their history.”
RHT Spokesperson Chief Dean Sayers agrees with Ogimaa Peltier and stated the Decision is history in the making and will also bring the hearings home for Anishinaabek citizens.
“We want our people to hear what they said. The courts call it evidence, but what these Elders and Experts are sharing are our stories, our history and our collective knowledge,” said Chief Sayers. “We are glad that, through the livestreaming and archived videos, these testimonies will be preserved and shared with our young people for generations to come.”
The Robinson Huron Treaty case, which is being heard with another case involving the Robinson Superior Treaty, concerns the interpretation of an annuity “augmentation” clause, which provides for the increase of annuities paid to First Nations under the treaties, if resource revenues allow for such an increase without incurring a loss.
The trial started in Thunder Bay, ON in September 2017, and has moved throughout the Treaties Territory, including First Nation communities at Manitoulin Island and Garden River, near Sault Ste. Marie, the site of the Treaty signing in 1850.
The hearings are open to the public and continue January 10th in Sudbury, ON. The court has heard from Anishinaabe Elders and experts on items including Anishinaabe law, oral history and ceremonies. Next, the court will hear from the governments’ witnesses.