Document Spotlight - Robinson Huron Treaty

robinsonhurontreaty (1).jpeg

Chiefs Shingwaukonce and Nebenaigoching with treaty comissioner William Robinson, at the signing of the Robinson-Huron Treaty in 1850. 

The Robinson-Huron Treaty is a pre-Confederation treaty that was signed before Canada existed. Prior to the signing of the Robinson-Huron Treaty, there was a land and resource dispute at Mica Bay, along the shore of Lake Superior in 1849. At this time, mining was occurring at Mica Bay contrary to the 1763 Royal Proclamation statements on Indigenous land and resource rights. Indigenous Peoples from the Baawating region led by Chief Shingwaukonse and Chief Nebenaigoching travelled to Pointe aux Mines, Mica Bay to disrupt the mining. Over 100 soldiers were sent to put down the Mica Bay incident. Mica Bay is considered one of the tipping points which forced the government to negotiate treaty agreements in the region.

This treaty was signed on Whitefish Island in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario on September 9, 1850.  The Robinson-Huron Treaty covers land in Ontario from Batchawana Bay, on Lake Superior, to Penetanguishene, on Lake Huron. The treaty outlined resource extraction rights and stated Indigenous People would retain hunting and fishing rights. The treaty also established reserves. This is the process that most treaties followed after 1850.

Learn more about the Robinson-Huron Treaty by watching this video featuring Darrell Boissoneau from Garden River First Nation speaking about the treaty process. 

Paul Sayers, a direct descendent of Chief Shingwauk, talks about the history of the Robinson-Huron Treaty.