Monthly Archives: September 2012 - Page 2

Chief Todd Cappo Calling Ratification Vote Cover Letter August 30

To: The Muscowpetung Saulteaux First Nation Members
Re: Flood Claim Settlement and Ratification Vote

On behalf of the Chief and Council, I am very pleased to announce that we have negotiated a proposed settlement of our Flood Claim against Canada, which we feel comfortable in bringing to our membership for review and approval.

This comfort level in the Flood Claim settlement terms has taken a long time for us to get to, but after years of work with professional advice and consultation, we feel that we can now comfortably come to you and say:

i.) that we have protected our interests in our land, our sovereign rights, our treaty rights and our water rights;
ii.) that we have compensation for our claim in an amount that will allow our First Nation to wisely invest and use for our long term benefit;
iii.) that we have negotiated the option to purchase up to 1280 acres of land and convert them to Muscowpetung reserve lands;
iv.) that we have not surrendered land or allowed any infringement of our Indian and Aboriginal Rights;
v.) that our First Nation can positively work with the reserve land flooding Easement of 1,138.7 acres, in such a way that that will allow us to maintain our current habitat, fisheries, water management, waterways and limited hay production areas;
vi.) that we are satisfied with the resolution of the 1977 BCR set off issue and the payment by Canada of past negotiation loan funding; and
vii.) that we are proud of the Trust Agreement that we are presenting to you. We have structured it so that it will be professionally managed and protected, so that it is projected to grow annually and will provide annual economic benefit and income to the First Nation. In this sense, we wanted the Trust to truly represent the hay lands that were destroyed by the flooding – by providing our First Nation with a perpetual annual harvest.


Most band members are familiar with the claim, but for our members who are not, I would like to give a brief history.

In 1942, the federal government built the Echo Lake dam (and others) under their Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration, with the knowledge that the Qu’Appelle River system would be controlled to create water reservoirs to benefit agriculture development, recreation development and controlled waterways.

The Echo Lake dam, located within the town of Fort Qu’Appelle, immediately negatively affected the Muscowpetung Saulteaux Indian Reserve, by flooding approximately 1,138.7 acres, most of which was high production hay lands, regarded as the “Economic base” of Muscowpetung. Overtime, the flooding dramatically changed the appearance of these lands: trees/shrubs died of root rot, wildlife moved, hay production stopped and the economic base was destroyed. This had economic effects that are still visible today.

The pre-flooding condition of Muscowpetung was well documented and researched by Dr. Blair Stonechild. The negotiation team was conclusively able to argue that the Muscowpetung lands that were flooded – were not to be valuated as simple “agricultural lands”, rather they were Muscowpetung’s economic base, as evidenced by:

i.) reports of maple trees used to tap sugar on Muscowpetung.
ii.) reports of successful trappers on Muscowpetung.
iii.) reports of wild meat harvested on Muscowpetung.
iv.) reports of a very successful live stock industry and breeding operation operated on reserve by band members and the Indian Agency, estimated at over 1000 head, and supported by Muscowpetung’s annual hay harvest.
v.) reports of a successful horse operation, including selling hay to the RCMP horse barracks.
vi.) reports state that the Agency cattle herd and the sale of hay, provided year round employment to band members. Moreover, several spin off industries were reported, such as the sale of hides, horns, horsehair, bones for fertilizer. It was also reported that Members were hired for blacksmithing, making harnesses, horse breaking, bull breeding, maple tree tapping, and the sale of candy and maple syrup.
vii.) reports also state that there was a band potato farm near the river that produced several acres of potatoes annually for the entire band. The 1942 flood destroyed this potato farm.
viii.) Oral accounts state the self-sufficiency of the band was strong, and welfare and unemployment were unknown on Muscowpetung up until the 1940’s. Accordingly, it is reported that the spirit of community co-operation, pride and industriousness, including the morale of the community was much stronger.
ix.) the wealth of the band before the dam was proudly reported by the Indian Agents, who reported that they could pay the Farm Instructor with band funds and that Muscowpetung was not causing any expense to the taxpayer.

The post-flooding condition of the band is also well documented and reported:

aa.) Although the federal government knew the construction of the dam would flood and affect Muscowpetung, they constructed the dam in 1942;
bb.) The construction of the dam did benefit the government. It assisted agriculture, assisted water management projects and purposes, created recreational lake development, created business and taxation benefits, created wealth, etc…
cc.) The flooding of 1,138.7 acres of Muscowpetung , caused the permanent destruction of prime hay lands and the loss of approximately 300 – 500 tonnes of hay annually.
dd.) In 1959, only 76 cattle and 30 horses remained on reserve. Both the agency cattle herd and the RCMP hay sales were defunct.
ee.) In 1962, reports show Muscowpetung economic independence and self-sufficiency had suffered.
ff.) By 1981, zero (0) tonnes of wild hay were being harvested.
gg.) Salt deposits from controlled flooding rendered land unfit for cultivating, destroying band farms and vegetables along the river.
hh.) Today, much of the land lies abandoned, and much of the hay needed on Muscowpetung has to be grown or purchased elsewhere.
ii.) Today, maple trees, wild hay, swimming, trapping and hunting on reserve, fishing on reserve has virtually disappeared.

As you can see, we had to dig our heels in and find new ways to evaluate our lands. Canada wanted to simply evaluate our lands as “agricultural lands”.

I wanted our lands to be seen as an important commodity, necessary to maintain the Qu’Appelle water system, surrounding lake levels and the valuable water spins. We believe this is acknowledged in our settlement.


Enclosed you will find a hard copy of all legal agreements associated with this claim. You will also find a detailed summary from our lawyer, so I will briefly discuss how these legal agreements relate to the ratification vote process.

The Settlement package lays out the complex legal agreements that allow Canada to authorize Saskatchewan to legally flood our lands. In return, we are paid $30,643,418 in settlement compensation and can add onto our reserve up to 1,280 acres.

However, we have only negotiated the enclosed settlement package. It does not become final, including the payment of any compensation to Muscowpetung, until these three steps occur:

  1. First, our adult band members must vote in favor of accepting the enclosed settlement package. You can place your vote in person at our information meetings listed below or on the final vote day. Alternatively, you can mail in the completed ballot in this package, but the Electoral Officer must receive it well before the October 19, 2012 vote day. If there are any problems, please call the Electoral Officer for help! (Tracy Desjarlais – ph. 1-306-780-3869). We will know soon after the polls close on October 19, 2012 if the vote is successful. If it is, then we move to the next step.
  2. Second, the successful vote will authorize your Chief and Council to sign the settlement package on behalf of Muscowpetung First Nation and then send it to the Government of Saskatchewan, for their approval and execution. It is suggested that this may take approximately 30 days. Once executed by The Minister of Environment on behalf of Saskatchewan, the package will then move to the final step.
  3. Finally, Saskatchewan will send the package to Ottawa for federal government approval. This requires a Parliament sitting for an Order-in-Council that will authorize the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs to execute the package on behalf of the Government of Canada. When the Minister signs the settlement, the settlement compensation can be paid and deposited directly into the Muscowpetung Legacy Trust Account.


This is a major component to the settlement package and one that I suspect will be the major area of discussion and interest.

Council has worked very hard with our consultants to create an everlasting Trust that will grow and benefit our First Nation. Again, our lawyer has included a detailed summary of the Trust Agreement and will be present at our information meetings to deliver a presentation and answer any questions you may have.

I would like to highlight some of the principles in the Legacy Trust Agreement, that we instructed our advisors to create:

T1. We wanted a corporate trustee and have chosen Peace Hills Trust Company as our Trustee. A corporate trustee model is extremely cost effective, efficient, safe and is administered with insured legal liability.

T2. We wanted the Trust to replace the flooded hay lands as Muscowpetung’s economic base. Accordingly, the Trust had to be everlasting and produce an annual “harvest”. We also new this annual harvest had to grow with inflation.

T3. The Trust shall pay to the First Nation, 4% of the previous years Trust capital annually. Our consultants advise this is a reasonable expectation for our investment performance; therefore the Trust principle is projected not to diminish.

T4. Earnings above the 4% mentioned, will be returned to the Trust to grow the Trust capital. Our consultants advise it is reasonable to expect the Trust capital to grow by 2% annually.

T5. Our Trustee is instructed to hire the top rated investment managers and to review their performance on a regular basis.

T6. Our Trust allows Muscowpetung to borrow money at preferred customer interest rates and lending arrangements.

T7. Our Trust is perpetual and will benefit your children, and your children’s children. It has tight controls on amendments, spending, lending, performance, reporting and protecting.


The Ratification Vote will be held on Friday, October 19, 2012 at Muscowpetung Education Centre Gymnasium, from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. We will know the results of the vote that night.

In the weeks ahead, we will be embarking upon our final round of information meetings concerning this Settlement and the documents in this package. The information meetings will be held on the dates, time and locations listed in the chart below. In addition, the Electoral Officer assigned from the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs to oversee and conduct the vote, will be present at each information meeting to accept your vote or collect the “mail in ballots” that are in this package. Please bring Identification.

All Information meetings start at 6:00. We will be providing a complimentary supper, refreshments and dessert to you and your family. Please come out and meet us, eat with us, hear our presentations, ask any questions you have and be part of this historic settlement.
If you wish to download the agreements to your laptop or mobile device, you can download them at The information meetings, ballot boxes and related information is listed in the chart below:

Information Meeting and Polling Station.
Meal to be provided
1305 – 9th St.
Estevan, SK.
Ph. (306) 634-6456
October 1, 2012
6:00pm to 9:00pm
Information Meeting and Polling Station.
Meal to be provided
100 Broadway St. E
Yorkton, SK
Ph. (306) 783-9781
October 2, 2012
6:00pm to 9:00pm
Information Meeting and Polling Station.
Meal to be provided
288 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB
Ph. (204) 956-0410
October 4, 2012
6:00pm to 9:00pm
Information Meeting and Polling Station.
Meal to be provided
319 North Road
Coquitlam, BC
Ph. (604) 931-9011
October 10, 2012
6:00pm to 9:00pm
Information Meeting and Polling Station.
Meal to be provided
2720 Glenmore Trail S.E.
Calgary, AB
Ph. (403) 279-8611
October 12, 2012
6:00pm to 9:00pm
Information Meeting and Polling Station.
Meal to be provided
10222 – 102nd Street
Edmonton, AB
Ph. (780) 429-9011
October 13, 2012
6:00pm to 9:00pm
Information Meeting and Polling Station.
Meal to be provided
806 Idylwyld Drive
Saskatoon, SK
Ph. (306) 665-6500
October 15, 2012
6:00pm to 9:00pm
Information Meetingand Polling Station
Meal to be provided
MUSCOWPETUNG FIRST NATIONMEC SCHOOL GYMNASIUM Muscowpetung Education Centre School Gymnasium Tuesday
October 16, 2012
6:00pm to 9:00pm
Information Meeting and Polling Station.
Meal to be provided
1919 Saskatchewan Drive
Regina, SK
Ph. (306) 525-5255
October 17, 2012
6:00pm to 9:00pm
October 19, 2012
9:00 am to 9:00 pm


Eligible Voters shall be those Muscowpetung members qualified to vote, registered on the band list and who are eighteen years old or older on October 19, 2012.

Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, in order for the settlement to be successfully approved, a majority (over 50%) of the eligible Voters of Muscowpetung must vote; and a majority (over 50%) of the votes cast must be in favor as evidenced by your mark on the ballot. Given this high threshold for approval, it is incumbent that each and every eligible Voter fully participates in the ratification process. We strongly and respectfully encourage you to vote.


In closing, this potentially is the settlement of a long, outstanding claim for Muscowpetung First Nation that dates back to 1942; which was formally submitted as a specific claim in 1986; accepted for negotiation in 1998; and settled in 2012. I have personally been involved since 1998 when I served my second term on band council and assigned Land Claims as my portfolio. Accordingly, I am glad to see this historic settlement at the ratification stage. I approve and recommend acceptance of the enclosed settlement package.

As a member, you are a part of this historic settlement as well. In the past, every band member was affected in some way or another by the 1942 dam. Presently, you are asked to be informed and vote on this issue. In the future, every band member will benefit from the “annual harvest”, in some way or another.

On behalf of Council and our staff, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your time and consideration.


Chief Todd Cappo