Over 150 years ago First Nations land was flooded to make way for the Trent-Severn Waterway.
The dispute over the land was recently settled with a $71 million payment. The money will be divided between Curve Lake, Hiawatha, and Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nations communities.
While the money has not yet been allocated by the Hiawatha community, they say some priorities will be safe drinking water, a community gathering space, and a fire hall.
According to a public notice from Curve Lake, the issue began in 1818 with the Treaty of Newcastle in which lands along Lake Ontario, Lake Simcoe, and the Trent River were surrendered to the Crown. The First Nations took the position that only the mainland areas were surrendered, not the islands.
The Trent Severn Waterway, in 1836, began flooding the islands. Other islands were surrendered to the Crown in 1856 with the money from sales to private owners ultimately going back to the First Nations. But no compensation was ever paid for the flooded lands.
A land claim was filed in 1988 through the Mississauga Tribal Treaty Council. The land claim is based on the appraised values of the flooded land during the three years flooding occurred (1837, 1856, and 1880).