History of Timber Claim


The merchantable timber on the Reserve was surrendered for sale in 1926. At that time, it was estimated that there were about 30,000 cords of spruce pulpwood on the Reserve, although no full timber cruise (assessment by a qualified forester) was conducted. A five-year contract for cutting of this timber was awarded to Charles W. Cox in December of that year. The contract required that payment be made by the cord, in accordance with the 1923 Timber Regulations.

Two years later, the cutting had not yet started. At the time, Cox offered to purchase the timber outright, and Canada agreed to sell it to him for the one-time sum of $100,000. However, Canada did not do a timber cruise to confirm how much pulpwood was on the Reserve.

In December 1929, Cox transferred his license to another company and clear cutting began immediately. In 1933, a check cruise indicated that 105,000 cords would likely be cut between 1934 and 1937, Canada renewed the license and allow the cutting to continue.

Ginoogaming always asserted that far more timber was cut during the 1930s than had been originally estimated, and that Canada was fully aware of the situation but did not stop it.
In 1990, Ginoogaming submitted a specific claim to Canada, alleging among other things, that the Department of Indian Affairs had greatly underestimated the amount of “merchantable timber” on the Reserve and then sold it at undervalue. Ginoogaming also claimed that Indian Affairs’ failure to enforce the six-inch cutting diameter restrictions and the en bloc sale to Cox were contrary to the timber regulations.

Canada accepted the claim for negotiation on August 13, 1999. An Agreement-in-Principal was reached between Canada and the First Nation on July 24, 2001 and a Settlement Agreement was initialed in early of September of 2001.
The Settlement Agreement was ratified by Ginoogaming First Nation through a referendum of all members (on and off-reserve) on December 15, 2001. Members overwhelmingly approved both the Settlement Agreement and the Ginoogaming First Nation
Timber Claim Trust Agreement.
Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, net compensation totaling $13,835,025 was paid by Canada into the Ginoogaming First Nation Timber Claim Trust on April 18, 2002. This is to be a long-term asset for the present and future benefit of Ginoogaming members living both on and off-reserve.
The money is administered in an open and accountable manner by Trustees in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in the Trust Agreement.