Chief Felix Thomas of the Saskatoon Tribal Council, center, with treaty annuity payments on the Kinistin Saulteaux Nation in Saskatchewan. Photo: Felix Thomas
Canada

Canada continues to distribute $5 -- yes $5 -- in annual treaty payments





The Canadian government continues to distribute $5 every year to citizens of First Nations whose ancestor signed treaties requiring annuity payments.

The payment, which has never been increased, is so small that some citizens wait several years to pick up their checks. But many view it as a way to ensure the government abides by treaties signed between 1850 and 1921.

“I come and get it because they owe me,” Marcel Guiboche, 72, told The New York Times. He picked up his check at a Treaty Day event in Winnipeg, Manitoba, last month, the paper reported.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada distributed $1.6 million in annuity payments in 2016, according to the paper. But more than $16 million, or about $12.7 million in U.S. currency, has not been claimed by First Nations citizens who are entitled to the funds, the paper said.

Treaty Day events are typically held in the summer to commemorate agreements signed by First Nations. Some events take place reserves throughout Canada while others are held in cities with significant Native populations.

If payments were adjusted for inflation, each citizen would be entitled to around $5,000, Jean Allard, a Metis descendant and retired politician, wrote in Big Bear's Treaty: The Road to Freedom in 2002.

According to The Times, about 579,000 First Nations citizens are presently entitled to payments.

Read More on the Story:
Winnipeg’s Treaty Payments: Meager Reminder of a Painful History (The New York Times 7/23)