KCN STILL WAITING FOR FEDERAL RECOGNITION
It’s been over 140 years since the Kaministikominahiko-skak Cree Nation (KCN) people signed an adhesion to Indian Treaty #5 at Cumberland Island in 1876.
In the Swampy Cree language, Cumberland Island is called Kaministikominahiko-skak, and in the English language it’s called Cumberland House. It is situated 320 kilometers North East of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
The KCN people have always lived on the Cumberland Island, and have occupied their territory since before Treaty, at the time of Treaty, and they still occupy it today. They continue to speak Cree, hunt, trap, fish, and continue to practice their social, economic, and cultural traditions.
KCN represents over 1,200 Cree members all of whom are connected to Indian Treaty #5. Some have Indian status, and some don’t. However, all of them have rights which they inherited from their ancestors. Legally, these rights are known as “inherent rights”.
Research shows that instead of recognizing the KCN people as a separate and a distinct Nation our community was amalgamated with the Cumberland Band of Indians.
At the time of treaty, Band amalgamation was used by the Indian agents to fast track our signing of treaty and to reduce the number of First Nations they would recognize.
In Cumberland House research shows that the five groups amalgamated were Cumberland Island, Sturgeon River, Cut Beaver Lake, Angling River, and Pine Bluff. Research also shows that the Angling River and the Pine Bluff people are not Kaministikominahiko-skak" Cree Nation people.
However, it was understood that the Crown would later return and recognize each Band as separate and distinct Nations. For KCN people the de-amalgamation never happened and a 140 years later are still waiting for federal recognition.
In contrast, the people of Red Earth and the Shoal Lake were amalgamated with the Pas Band at the time of Treaty and several years after were de-amalgamated from the Pas Band. However, soon after the de-amalgamation, they were again amalgamated with the Pas Mountain Band.
Research shows that in 1912, there was a second de-amalgamation, and the Red Earth and Shoal Lake First Nation were finally given separate reserves, some 36 years after Treaty. “The point is that if it was done then, it should have been done“ for the (KCN) Cumberland Island people.
Furthermore, these amalgamations were never part of Treaty and “it had nothing to do with the people themselves”. It was done by Indian agents who were responsible for breaking the Treaties and to reduce costs for the government.