Chronology of the John Cochrane First Nation


July 14, 1876

When dealing with people living in the shortfall and/or overlap area between Treaties 5 and 6, including Little Grand Rapids, the Island Bands, Moose Lake, Chemawawin, The Pas and Cumberland House, Treaty Commissioner Morris instructs Commissioners Howard and Reid (Senior Dominion Lands surveyor) not to recognize too many smaller Bands, and insists that smaller groups form a larger band.

Band Administrative Unit

Little Grand Rapids Beren’s River Band
Beren’s River

Big Island
Jackhead Island Bands

Moose Lake Moose Lake Band
Chemawawin (Cedar Lake)

The Pas Bands Specific Claim. “It is significant to note that in all cases eventually the true nature of Band composition won out with each of the above noted separate and distinct groups receiving recognition of separate Band status from Canada. Each later finally received reserve land on the basis of their own separate populations.”

August 23, 1876

Treaty 6 signed boundaries included Red Earth, Shoal Lake, The Pas, and part of the Cumberland lands. First Nations protest that they belong to Treaty #6, but due to the Commissioners failure “to make adequate provision for the protection of the Indian tribes whose interests and well-being are involved in the transfer”, they are coerced into signing onto Treaty #5.

September 7, 1876

Chief John Cochrane, along with Councillors Peter Chapman and Albert Flett sign adhesion to Treaty 5 on behalf of Cumberland Island, Sturgeon River, Angling River, Pine Bluff, Beaver Lake, and the Ratty Country Bands in an amalgamation known as the “Cumberland Band.” Treaty Commissioners created temporary “administrative units” such as the “Cumberland Band” by amalgamating two or more separate First Nations, so they could fast track Treaty signing by isolated Bands. The Chiefs would pick a chief, and the rest would sign on as headmen or councillors. Later, a federal Order in Council would dissolve the unit, recognize each Band as being separate, and grant reserve land to each.

September 21, 1880

Indian Agent A. McKay writes Superintendent JF Graham in Winnipeg that half of the administrative unit (Cumberland Band) wants to move from Cumberland; a portion ask for reserve at a point between Fort a la Corne and Sask River Forks.

March 4, 1881

Letter from Chief Albert Flett to Inspector of Indian Agencies, E. McColl , to the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs asks that Cumberland Band be given the same due as Indians of the Upper Country ( resolve unfinished Treaty business ). McColl passes buck to the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs.


Annual Report on Indian Affairs reports on Indians discharged from Treaty via scrip, “some of them have applied and have been readmitted to Treaty on the understanding that the shares of annuity that would otherwise be paid to them shall be withheld until the government shall have received back the value of the land scrip given them as half-breeds when they withdrew.”

August 3, 1893

640 acres in the Northwest corner of Cumberland Island surrendered for half-breed claims. Five (5) reserves surveyed: #20 Cumberland House in 1883 [resurveyed in 1906 and 1911], Fort a la Corne in 1887, Pine Bluff in 1912, Muskeg River in 1919, and Buds Point in 1936.

April 10, 1915

Ferguson Royal Commission tabled in Parliament reveals massive speculation and fraud by Indian agents as reason why so much Treaty business was left unfinished.

December 1, 1919

Report on Indian Reserve #20B states that it “is for the Cumberland House (Pine Bluff) band in part exchange for their interest in the Birch River reserve”


Small pox epidemic decimates John Cochrane Band. Survivors leave reserve and move into town site to gain better access to medical treatment

June 5, 1930

Order in Council confirms Cumberland reserve #20.


The Pine Bluff Band moves into Cumberland town site. In the early 1980’s Indian Affairs builds new houses on the Cumberland Island reserve and moves Pine Bluff band members to the reserve from the town site.


Raymond Chaboyer, Ernest Chaboyer, Melvin Fosseneuve, and Joe McLeod form group to reinstate John Cochrane Band. Raymond and Ernest later join the Cumberland House Cree Nation (Pine Bluff Band), while Melvin goes to the Pas Band. Joe McLeod remains steadfast with the John Cochrane Band.

January 15, 2001

Resolution cites to restore John Cochrane Band (JCB) Elections- Chief John Dorion, Headmen: Laurent McLeod, Pierre Dorion, Colleen Gullickson, and Herman Cook. Membership list approved.

January 18, 2001

Band election results and land claim sent to the Department of Indian Affairs (DIAND) Minister Nault and Regional Director Roy Bird.

February 6, 2001

Request research funding from the Saskatchewan Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and Cumberland House Development Corporation.

March 15, 2001

JCB adopts comprehensive Membership Code including Statutory Declaration, Statement of Claim for land base, financial compensation and reinstatement of treaty status.

March 22, 2001

Signing authority authorized for John Cochrane First Nation Inc. Vote to stay another year with Congress of Aboriginal People

March 16, 2001

Band writes Specific Claims Branch, Indian Claims Commission to settle with JCB before Cumberland House Cree Nation (Pine Bluff Band); request funding. Asks for information on other claims made on traditional lands.

March 21, 2001

Cumberland House Development Corporation declines funding request.

April 2, 2001

Request federal research funding for claim.

April 11, 2001

John Cochrane Band passes resolution to join FSIN.

April 24, 2001

Proposal for Aboriginal Youth Employment Services and Training Centre sent to Secretary of State Ethyl Blondin-Andrew.

May 31, 2001

DIAND Minister Nault invited to meet with Band.

June 17, 2001

Chief’s report. Elders Council – Helen McLeod, Harriet Fosseneuve, Marie Louise Mckenzie, and Solomon Goulet. Guest Speaker on reinstatement Chief Solomon Sanderson, Chacastaypasin First Nation.

July 4, 2001

Claim sent to AFN Chief Coon Come seeking AFN recognition of band.

July 6, 2001

Claim sent to Ralph Goodale with historical summary.

July 30, 2001

Request made to meet with Minister Nault at Treaty #6, 125th Anniversary Gathering at Fort Carlton.

August, 2001

Fort Carlton National Treaty Conference. Band reinstatement brought forward.

September 4 - 9, 2001

Fort Pitt National Treaty Conference. Band reinstatement brought forward.

October 2, 2001

AFN responds to letter

October 5&6, 2001

1st Nations Forum on reinstatement of Indian Bands. Solomon Sanderson elected spokesperson for Forum of First Nations for Treaties 4, 5, and 6 seeking status and reinstatement.

Oct 9, 2001

Ralph Goodale refers claim funding request to Policy and Research Directorate of Department of Indian and Northern Affairs.

October 15, 2001

FSIN Membership application postponed to 2002 Spring Assembly of the Chiefs.

October 28, 2001

Chief provides report and new members accepted.

November 2001

JCFN delegation meets with Finance Minister Paul Martin in Saskatoon. He expressed his desire to resolve all outstanding land claims, and unfinished Treaty business (including reinstatement of Bands) within his first mandate as Prime Minister.

November 28, 2001

James Smith Cree Nation votes 87% to separate into three Bands: James Smith, Peter Chapman, and Chacastaypasin Bands.

December 2, 2001

Chief’s report. Election Code of Conduct proposed.

December 10, 2001

DIAND Minister Nault invited to meet Band.

January 13, 2002

Custom Election Code adopted, including Code of Conduct for Electoral Officers; new memberships.

March 10, 2002

Reports, Approval of resolutions, memberships. Chief Dorion attends luncheon with Finance Minister Paul Martin in North Battleford, Saskatchewan.

May 13, 2002

Minister Nault tells Reinstatement Forum, Canada only mandated to address the grievances of duly recognized Indian Bands. Apparently Canada is not obliged to resolve unfinished Treaty business, which explains why no action resulted from the 1915 Ferguson Royal Commission, or why nothing has happened in 128 years.

July 1, 2002

JCB Operations Manual Review Committee struck.

July 17, 2002

DIAND Minister Nault responds, “On investigation of the records contained in the archival Indian Affairs Annual Reports indicates that an individual by the name of John Cochrane signed Treaty No.5 on September 7, 1876 as Chief of the ‘Cumberland/ Cumberland House Bands’. As noted on the enclosed Orders in Council dating from June 1893 to February 1963, five reserves were officially set aside for the use and the benefit of the Cumberland House Band (now referred to as the Cumberland House Cree Nation). However, no concrete evidence could be found in the archival records which made reference to a separate band by the name of John Cochrane.”

October 6, 2002

Chief’s report. Headwoman Gullickson resigns. Operations Manual adopted and new members accepted.

October 7, 2002

Nault denies our use of Specific Claims Branch to reinstate Band, refuses funding.

October 28, 2002

Chief and Elders reports. Land Claims. Memberships. Forum on Band Reinstatement in North Battleford.

November 4, 2002

Nault again rejects claim

November 10, 2002

Nault sent copy of John Cochrane First Nation Constitution.

November 15, 2002

Claim sent to Paul Martin.

December 1, 2002

Chief and Headmen reports. Elder comments. Memberships. Ruby Dorion and Margaret McAuley appointed to Elders Council.

January 2, 2003

Reinstatement claim sent to Prime Minister Chrétien, explaining that Canada’s fiduciary obligation has only partially been fulfilled.

January 6, 2003

Nault falls back on old New Bands/Band Amalgamation Policy (NBBA) interpretation to deny claim.

February 3, 2003

Claim sent to DIAND Minister Nault.

February 9, 2003

Chief and Headmen reports, Michael Dorion elected interim Headman. New members accepted.

February 24, 2003

Human Resources Development Minister Jane Stewart denies funding request for Youth Training Centre.

February 26, 2003

Nault responds to February 3 letter “unless requirements of the policy on the creation of new bands are met, favourable consideration cannot be given on reinstatement.

April 23, 2003

Claim sent to Paul Martin.

May 4, 2003

Chief/Headman reports. John Cochrane First Nation Constitution formally adopted. Bingo Committee and License application. New members accepted. Protocol Agreement between Cumberland House Cree Nation (Pine Bluff Band) and John Cochrane Band approved by membership. Chief of the Cumberland House Cree Nation refuses to sign.

November 2003

Philip Head, President, Aboriginal Peoples Commission, Liberal Party of Saskatchewan sends resolution to Liberal Party Convention regarding reinstatement of Indian Bands.

December 7, 2003

Chief and Council reports. National Liberal Convention. New members accepted, Elders Comments. Band elections set for January 18, 2004. Lobby feds for membership clerk.

December 21, 2003

Claim sent to Finance Minister, Honourable Ralph Goodale.

January 18, 2004

Chiefs report. Elections ….. Chief John Dorion; Headperson, Denise Mckenzie, Herman Cook, Pierre Dorion and Darren Deschambeault. New members accepted. Reinstatement committee formed.

January 7, 2004

Chief Dorion and Solomon Sanderson send Prime Minister proposed new policies respecting First Nations Canada Relations, along with briefing notes regarding band reinstatement issue.

January 16, 2004

Prime Minister Paul Martin in Prince Albert calls reinstatement of bands “unfinished treaty business” assigns officials headed by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Aboriginal Affairs, Jeffery Copenace to follow up.

April 18, 2004

Chief Dorion and other aboriginal leaders dine with Prime Minister Martin at 24 Sussex Drive. Prime Minister promises to move on reinstatement file.

April 19, 2004

The 1st Canada Aboriginal Peoples Roundtable. The Prime Minister reiterates promise made in Throne Speech to transform the lives of aboriginal Canadians within a decade through agreements on education, health, natural resources, housing, financial audits and land claim negotiations based on historic rights and agreements that our forefathers signed long ago.

June 14, 2004

Reports, New members accepted. To date, over 700 direct descendants join band.
Discussion on Cumberland House Cree Nation (Pine Bluff Band) referendum concerning land leases on Cumberland Island.

June 30, 2004

Chief sends letter on John Cochrane First Nation (JCFN) reinstatement directly of Prime Minister. PMO passes it off to new Indian Affairs Minister Andy Scott.

August 24, 2004

Indian Affairs Minister uses the old “New Band/Amalgamation (NBBA)” policy of his predecessors to reject claim.

July 29, 2004

Reinstatement issue brought forward to Jeffery Copenace, Senior Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Aboriginal Issues focusing on Indian Affairs Department intransigence in using its archival records that will verify claim.

November, 2004

John Cochrane First Nation request to meet with Jeffery Copenace, Senior Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Aboriginal issues in Cumberland House to discuss the reinstatement file.

February, 2007

Traditional drum donated to JCFN ( SeeJCFN web page image gallery for photo)

February 2007, membership authorizes letter to Paul Martin requesting his help to reinstate the Band

June 2007, Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice promises to overhaul ICC.

March 2008, membership authorize the Chief and Council to purse compensation for abuse victims of church run day schools in the Cumberland House area. They also authorize a meeting with Peter Chapman Band, Cumberland House Cree Nation, and JCFN to discuss and resolve issues related to unfinished treaty business.

March 30, 2008 elections held for Chief and Council. John Dorion re-elected to a three year term as Chief. Pierre Dorion, Joe Laurent Mcleod, Harold Fosseneuve, and Clinton Carriere are elected to three year terms as Councilors.

March 2009, membership approve JCFN Aboriginal Health Transition Project Proposal.

March 2009 the Cumberland House Cree Nation (formerly the Pine Bluff Band) and the Metis people of Cumberland House receive funding to map traditional territory in the Cumberland House region.

The JCFN "Kaministikominahiko-skak Cree People" are excluded from the mapping project. Even though they have occupied Cumberland House territory since before Treaty, they occupied it at the time the Band signed Treaty, and they still occupy it today.

By excluding the Band from the mapping project, once again the federal government is not carrying out its fiduciary responsibilities to protect JCFN treaty and inherent rights and its traditional territories in the Cumberland House region.

April 2008, Chief John Dorion hand delivers JCFN three volume reinstatement submission to Bill McNight, Treaty Commissioner at his Saskatoon office. This is the second time INAC has recieved the JCFN submission

April 2009, J.T. Dorion develops and initiates a web page for the Band.

May 2009, a joint session with the Canadian Senate and FSIN Senate was held with John Cochrane First Nation and other Bands working towards reinstatement. Turn out is excellent.

May 22, 2009 Payesu Wuttunee Health Canada - First Nation & Inuit Health Branch Regional Office Regina rejects application and proposal submission to the Aboriginal Health Transition Fund (AHTF) stating "John Cochran First Nation is not eligible under the 'new band amalgamation policy" despite the fact that John Cochrane First Nation was in partnership with two recognized First Nation communities.

Chief John Dorion and project coordinator, Nancy Dorion RN BSN MN, immediately request a reconsideration of the submission and are again denied by Senior Officials in Winnipeg on the basis that JCFN is not recognized by the federal government, despite inquires made on their behalf by Senator Lillian Dyck, Senate of Canada. The request for reconsideration was based upon the assertion that the AHTF should be accessible to all Aboriginal Peoples.

June 24, 2009 , JCFN makes official request for membership in the FSIN.

June 2009, FSIN Senate pass resolution supporting membership of JCFN into the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.

July 14, 2009 , the resolution to support John Cochrane First Nation in the FSIN was vetted and supported by the Joint Executive Council and Indian Government Commission. It was resolved "that the Chiefs-in-Assembly acknowledge the John Cochrane First Nation membership in the FSIN as an Independent First Nation which shall formally be recognized upon signing the FSIN Convention"

August 10, 2009 JCFN holds a Band membership meeting in Cumberland House to discuss and pass resolution to stop the Traditional Mapping Project in the Cumberland House region. Band members request legal action.

September 17, 2009 John Cochrane First Nation holds an information session on Pandemic Preparedness and response for band members and other interested community members in Cumberland House. Presenter and facilitator for the afternoon was a Registered Nurse, health educator, and band member who volunteered her time and expertise.

October 28, 2009,at the Fall Assembly of the FSIN, the membership of the John Cochrane First Nation into the FSIN was deleted from the agenda. This was done by some of the of the member Chiefs of the Prince Albert Grand Council which violated the official process of membership in the FSIN. Deletion of John Cochrane's membership in the FSIN from the agenda was allowed by the Assembly chairperson which consitutued a violation of the FSIN Covention Act. This matter is currently under investigation by the FSIN Senate and the Indian Government Commission.

October 30, 2009, as follow up to FSIN Assembly a back ground letter sent to Chiefs of Member Nations-Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations providing a better understanding of JCFN issues and the unfinished Treaty business impacting on John Cochrane Band, lands and membership.

December, 2009, letter sent to President Barack Obama, United States of America requesting support to pressure the Canadian Federal Government to carry out their Treaty obligations to the John Cochrane First Nation "Kaministikominahiko-skak Cree People" who were party to signing of Treaty #5 in 1875. Since Treaties are internationally recognized we have asked the President and its administration to intervene on our behalf to ensure that the Canadian Federal government implement the Treaty our Ancestors signed 134 years ago.

TO DATE JCFN has not received a response from Treaty Commissioner Bill McKnight or the federal government of Canada.