This blog is part of a more than two-decade long running analysis of the Ontario Algonquin land claims process. Additional works can be found in Anishinabek News, rabble, ricochet, Policy Options, and Briarpatch Magazine. I am dedicated to this knowledge production of exposing Canada’s long term ongoing denial of who the Algonquin are because its parliament illegally squats on Algonquin land yet it is a little-known reality. I see it as my role to shine a light on Canada’s best kept secret, preventing it from hiding in plain sight. In offering this analysis of the recent Algonquins of Ontario (AOO) Tribunal results I do not claim to offer an absolute Truth.
The AOO, the corporation established for the Algonquin land claims process with the colonial governments of Canada and Ontario, and best known as a process of extinguishment, have been operating through a corrupted enrollment process. Although past Chief Kirby Whiteduck has stated several times that enrollment does not equate with being a beneficiary to the final settlement, enrollment has provided non-Algonquin people a role in shaping the outcome of the Agreement-in-Principal (AIP) by way of voting in electing Algonquin Negotiation Representatives (ANRs) who sit at the table along side Pikwakanagan First Nation (Pik FN) chief and council members, and in terms of voting rights during the ratification of the 2016 AIP. The number of eligible voters in 2016 was 7,694. This number is not inclusive of all registered status Algonquin.
For decades enrollment has been an issue for legitimate Algonquin. Members of Pik FN have become victims of a tyranny of false enrollment and falsely created communities whereby the seven-member chief and council of Pik FN has held less votes than the nine primarily non-status groups. I offer the discourse of ‘legitimate on the ground communities’ because Pik FN is the only community where Algonquin share the same roads, stores, health centre, recreational centre, administrative buildings, and struggles such as poverty, addiction, and unemployment. Essentially, Pik FN is the only collective sharing the same land, water, and air. Although it is well known that there was a history of colonial denial of other Algonquin collectives, the descendants of these other collectives have existed within well established municipal structures, and have so for some time. This is not the same as the situation that Pik FN members find themselves situated within. While Algonquin may be equal, they are differently equal. Clearly some require a deeper understanding of equality – it does not mean erase difference.
In terms of addressing false enrollment, it was in 1999 when Kirby Whiteduck addressed the inclusion of Thomas Lagarde dit St. Jean as an ancestor, and thus all of his descendants. Years later in 2013 Clifford Meness, a council member for Pik FN, also addressed this same historic person. Their efforts were unsuccessful due to the production of fraudulent document/s. A recent 2021 CBC investigation involving historical, archival, and hand writing analyses exposed these documents as fraudulent.
In February 2022, Dr. Darryl Leroux offered an analysis of the Schedule of Ancestors which lists 78 root ancestors. Relying on a race-shifting lens he identified six Algonquin women born in the 1600s, five non-Algonquin Indigenous people born in the late 1700 and early 1800s, and a smaller number of French Canadians who should be removed.
See also: www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxRsC-Yzs-I&ab_channel=MSUDepartmentofEnglish
Following, in 2022/3 an Algonquin Tribunal was established whereby 14 historic persons on the Schedule of Algonquin Ancestors were adjudicated to determine if they, and subsequently all of their descendant, met the test of Algonquin-ness. Interestingly, these historic persons did not include the six Algonquin women Leroux identified (again born in the 1600s), yet this list does expand to additional historic persons. The definition of Algonquin-ness being:
Is the named person identified in a historic record or document dated on or before December 31, 1921, in such a way that it would be reasonable to conclude that he was considered to be an Algonquin or Nipissing, or a sibling of such a person. A ‘sibling of such a person’ means a person with a common Algonquin parent.
The Tribunal also stated that if a historic person fails to meet the criteria eligibility, it “may affect your eligibility to be on the Enrolment List and, as a result, your eligibility to vote in ANR elections, vote on the ratification of the Treaty and, ultimately, be a beneficiary of the Treaty”. Of the historic persons, half or seven failed:
1. Angelique Atkinson ‒ Pass
2. Frederick Ferris and Walter Ferris ‒ Fail*
3. Sophie Emelie Jamme dite Carriere ‒ Fail
4. Jacques Kamiskwabininch ‒ Pass
5. Francois Kawitadijik ‒ Pass
6. Thomas Lagarde dit St. Jean ‒ Fail
7. Toussaint Laronde ‒ Pass
8. Hannah Mannell ‒ Fail
9. Michel McDonald ‒ Fail*
10. Anna McDonald-McDonnell ‒ Pass
11. Cecile McDonnell-Mawiskak ‒ Fail*
12. Louis Michiminanakwakwe ‒ Pass
13. Joseph Paquette ‒ Fail
14. Mary Petrin ‒ Pass
With this outcome, it motivates the question, “How many descendants rely on these non-Algonquin in the AOO process?” Relying on the 2015 Final Voters’ List (2015 Final Voters’ List) as my data source, using the find function, the following numbers were generated (search terms in quotations):
1. Frederick Ferris and son Walter Ferris: 213 rely on “Frederick Ferris”
2. Sophie Emelie Jamme dite Carriere: 1,256 rely on “Sophie Emilie Carriere”
3. Thomas Lagarde dit St. Jean: 1,255 rely on “Thomas St. Jean dit Laguarde”
4. Hannah Mannell: 102 rely on “Hannah Mannell”
5. Michel McDonald: 34 rely on “Michel McDonald”
6. Cecile McDonnell-Mawiskak: 314 rely on “Cecile Mawiskak McDonnell”
7. Joseph Paquette/Paquett/Payette: Not found on 2015 Voters’ List
In thinking about what these findings mean in terms of the number of the voters on the 2015 Final Voters’ List, we need to appreciate that some people rely on two or more of these historic persons. Thus we cannot simply add the numbers and generate a total number. For example many, if not most, enrollees who rely on Sophie Emilie Carriere also rely on Thomas St. Jean dit Laguarde, as they were married.
In moving on, all AOO enrollees who rely on Hannah Mannell have no other person listed as an ancestor, this also applies to all enrollees who rely on Michel McDonald. The same, though, cannot be said of the enrollees who rely on Cecile Mawiskak McDonnell; of the 314 enrollees only twelve rely on her solely, meaning that some of her descendants have a historic person who passes the test of Algonquin-ness. Further, Joseph “Paquette/Paquett/Payette” is not found in the 2015 Final Voters’ List and so I am unable to generate a number of enrollees in my thinking process. Lastly, while Federick Ferris fails, his son Walter is married to Anna McDonald-McDonnell who passes the test, meaning Walter’s descendants will remain enrolled. These caveats demonstrates that a method of determining the precise number of people who should not have been enrolled in the AOO process, and who should not have voted in the AIP ratification process is difficult to precisely determine.
With this explained, in looking at the numbers and considering that some enrollees rely on two or more historic persons, and relying on the 2015 Final Voters’ List as my data base, it is my best ‘estimate-guestimate’ that approximately 2,000 people will be removed from the AOO process. In actuality, these 2,000 people should never have been allowed to shape the AOO process in any capacity what-so-ever.
It is also useful to recall that in 2013 retired Judge Chadwick made a decision removing 700 AOO enrollees, most coming from the Sharbot Lake and Ardoch regions. Further to this in 2019 when seeking to still the waters of its membership over enrollment issues, Pik FN leadership stated 2,500 people had already been removed from enrollment. One can assume that the 700 people from the 2013 process are included in this number.
Disturbingly, two ANRs, Connie Mielke of the so-called Algonquins of Greater Golden Lake First Nation and Lynne Clouthier of the so-called Ottawa Algonquin First Nation, now disqualified as Algonquin through this Tribunal sat at the AOO table for some time, as a matter of fact they generated a healthy salary (70K) in this ANR position. Their removal from the AOO process is now reflected on the updated AOO website; their profiles have been deleted.
Thus, contrary to what past Chief Wendy Jocko once stated, not all AOO enrollees were/are “real Algonquin”. While some people think the issue is a status versus non-status issue, this is incorrect. The bigger was/is an infestation of pretendians, or as Dr. Veldon Coburn has argued, it was more in line with intentional “sabotage”.
In summary, beginning with Kirby Whiteduck’s effort in 1999, and Clifford Meness’ effort in 2013, and now through this recent Tribunal it is my estimate that as many as 4,500 non-Algonquin have been removed from the process; and the matter of the Algonquin women born in the 1600s remains to be addressed.
* While it was determined that three of the historic persons did not fulfil the criteria of "Algonquin", it was understood that they are Indigenous:
1. "There is no question that Cecile Mcdonnell-Mawiskak (RIN #14687) is a woman of
2. "All members of the Tribunal recognize and agree that Frederick Ferris (RIN #5208) and Walter Ferris (RIN #2196) were both Indigenous people and, hence, his descendants are of Indigenous ancestry."
3. "All members of the Tribunal recognize and agree that Michel McDonald (RIN #14703) was
an Indigenous person and, hence, his descendants are of Indigenous ancestry."
Lynn is an author, advocate, artist, and public speaker. Her work encompasses both anti-colonial work and the celebration of Indigenous knowledge. She challenges Canada’s practices, policies, and laws of colonial genocide such as the land claims and self-government process, sex-discrimination in the Indian Act, the continued destruction of Akikpautik / Chaudière Falls–an Anishinaabeg sacred place, and Canada’s lack of policy addressing Indigenous women and girls with disabilities who are bigger targets of sexual violence.