The status and significance of Hog Island to First Nations people on P.E.I. will be the subject of a series of public meetings this week.
Hog Island refers to a strip of sandbars along northwestern P.E.I. It includes George Island, Fish Island and Bill Hook Island. Both the Lennox Island and Abegweit First Nations have claimed that the federal government breached its fiduciary duty after failing to turn over the lands to the reserves after purchasing them in 1942.
Hog Island is identified in a Specific Claim filed by the two communities. Specific Claims relate to grievances centered on unjust or negligent fulfilment of treaty obligations or administration of land by the Government of Canada.
The Specific Claim made by the two First Nation communities was first filed in 1996 but was refiled in 2012. In 2016, the federal government accepted the basis for the claim, based on its lawful obligation. It also accepted the claim by the two bands that the alleged breach of fiduciary duty had occurred in 1942, rather than its previous claim that the breach may have occurred in 1968.
In April of 2017, a negotiator was assigned to the Specific Claim by the federal government.
Three public meetings scheduled to take place this week, will address the claim, as well as the specific remedies the two First Nations will be requesting. The two issues the communities hope to remedy include compensation or replacement of the Hog Island lands, as well as compensation for the loss of use of the lands since 1942.
A vote amongst the membership of the two communities would need to ratify any resolution of the claim.
The first meeting will take place Tuesday, Aug. 6 at the Lennox Island Health Centre Building starting at 4:30 p.m. On Wednesday, another public meeting will be held at the Abegweit First Nation Community Room in Scotchfort at 5 p.m. The final meeting will be held 4:30 p.m. at the St. Paul’s Church Community Hall in Charlottetown, at 101 Prince St.
All meetings will feature a light supper.