Lands, Estates and Membership
Purchasing of Land
All purchases or sales of land within Pikwakanagan must be completed by the Lands program in order for it to be registered with Indian and Northern Affairs. If the land transaction is not registered, it won’t be recognized, nor will the buyer receive a Certificate of Possession for the land. Portions of land can no longer be transferred without a survey being completed. Indian and Northern Affairs does not cover the cost for survey work.
Adding Land to the Reserve
The Manager of Lands, Estates and Membership searches for land outside of Pikwakanagan which can be converted to “Reserve Land”. We are in the process of acquiring the shore/road allowance to be added to the “Reserve”. This should be completed by March 2011. We are also in negotiations to purchase land adjacent to the First Nation. If the sale is finalized, the Additions to Reserve process will begin to acquire “Reserve Status”.
We have been negotiating with Hydro One for a number of years for compensation for the Hydro easement which runs through Pikwakanagn. We negotiated compensation rates which were presented to the Certificate of Possession (CP) holders and most are supportive to pursue an agreement. We are now in the process of preparing agreements for the CP holders’ signatures and a payment schedule.
Bell Canada has an easement which runs underground along Mishomis and Ininatig Inamo. We were successful in negotiating a permit with them. They now compensate the First Nation for using our lands.
Land Code Consultations
Consultations will soon begin to determine what members feel should be included in a Land Code. A draft Land Code will be prepared after consultations and members will have a chance to review and provide input prior to finalization and voting on it.
The Estates program assists members in the case of death of a relative by reporting the death and working with the administrators of the estate to identify the land and understand the forms provided to them. Social Services, Public Works and the Lands Program will be working on a pamphlet on what a person should do in case of a death of a family member in Pikwakanagan. We hope to have something available in the near future to address this matter.
Workshops on Wills & Estates are held as requested. Land can only be held by members of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan, please ensure that beneficiaries are members and not just "registered".
The Membership program processes status cards for all of its members and members of other First Nations. Unfortunately, we can no longer process cards through the mail. The new secure status cards are only available at Headquarters of Indian and Northern Affairs. To receive one, you are advised to make an appointment by calling 1-877-710-2908. We are hoping to have the equipment and training for the new Secure Cards by fall 2012.
We register all marriages, deaths, and miscellaneous changes to a member's information. We maintain our membership list and mailing addresses for all of our members, residing on or off the reserve. If you move, please let the office know so that they can update your address.
Additionally, we can no longer register any child. If you are registered and have a child that would be entitled to be registered, you will have to submit a request, the original birth registration certificate and the parental consent form to (we recommend that you send it by registered mail to ensure that the birth registration form is not lost) to :
Indian Registration, INAC Ontario Region
25 St. Clair Avenue East
Under the new Membership Code, any person who acquires status and is affiliated with our First Nation must apply for membership and be accepted as a member. What this means is that you must meet the criteria in the Membership Code to become a member. You must be of Algonquin descent and provide a Canada Police Information Check (CPIC). You may hold status without being a member of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan. Anyone who is registered after March 2009, even children must apply and be accepted as a member. There is a six month appeal process should someone want to appeal the Registrar’s decision to accept someone as a member. This list is updated and posted every time a new member is accepted.
The Manager acts as Registrar for the Membership Code and the Residency Law. The Standing Committee develops and reviews laws that are in place or are just being implemented. An Appeal Board is in place to review any applications that the Registrar does not have authority to make decisions on or to hear appeals on all of our laws and by-laws. The Manager acts as Electoral Officer on all elections and Referendum Officer on all Referendums. We are going to begin consultation on a draft Governance Plan for our First Nation. This will be how we plan on managing the First Nation as a whole. We will be looking at the Election Code again to make any necessary changes and then holding another Referendum before the next Election. It is the Manager's responsibility to co-ordinate all elections. Under the Residency Law, anyone who plans on moving into Pikwakanagan must apply and obtain permission to reside here before they move.
Any family that wishes for their loved one to be buried in one of our burial grounds must contact the office and provide a death certificate before any burial takes place. It is the Manager's responsibility to maintain records of the burial grounds.
Matrimonial Real Property Issues
A Draft Law on Matrimonial Real Property has been developed based on survey responses from the Members. The Matrimonial Real Property Law is at a stand-still until means of administering and enforcing it are established.
Highlights of the Draft Law on Matrimonial Real Property are as follows:
- The Law will only be utilized to reach a settlement if the spouses involved cannot.
- Mediation is mandatory before they can approach the Board/Tribunal.
- Only the house and land will be dealt with if both spouses are members.
- Only the house will be dealt with if one spouse is a non-member.
- The children have been identified as the top priority and should be allowed to stay in the community and their home.
- Inherited land will be awarded to the spouse who inherited it.
- The Appeal Board will act as the Tribunal until such time as the Tribunal is established.
- Council will be given the authority to enforce the settlement through Council Resolution
- Under no circumstances, will a non-member be awarded the land.