Kaministikominahoko-skak Cree Nation
● the original people who occupied the lands of the Cumberland Delta and Ratty
country prior to treaty;
● the descendants of the original people who occupied the lands of the Cumberland
Delta and Ratty Country prior to treaty;
● the people that the Creator gave life to as the Kaministikominahiko-shak
Nenawuk, with our territory, our sovereignty and our inherent rights.
● the people who were born with the rights of territory, sovereignty, and inherent
rights. These rights were not bestowed on us by the Queen, the Hudson’s Bay
Company or the Canadian government
(Source: Kaministikominahoko-shak Cree Nation, Our Land and Our Nation – in the
words of our Elders, 2020.)
Treaty #5 September 7, 1876
In 1876 a Treaty agreement was signed by John Cochrane (Chief), Peter Chapman
(headmen) and Albert Flett (headmen) on behalf of the Swampy Cree people living at
Cumberland Island, Sturgeon River, Angling River, Pine Bluff, (Cut) Beaver Lake and
the Ratty Country.
The Treaty Commissioners named this group “The Cumberland Band”.
The text of the treaty read:
“We, the Band of Saulteaux and Swampy Cree Indians, residing at the "Pas," on
the Saskatchewan River, Birch River, the Pas Mountain and File Lake, and known
as "The Pas Band"; and at Cumberland Island, Sturgeon River, Angling River,
Pine Bluff, Beaver Lake and the Ratty Country, and known as "The Cumberland
Band"...for the "Cumberland Band" a reserve at "Cumberland Island," and as the
land fit for cultivation there is also limited and insufficient to meet their
requirements, that the balance of that reserve shall be at a point between the "Pine
Bluff" and "Lime Stone Rock" on "Cumberland Lake"... land as may have been
granted to or stipulated to be held by the Hudson's Bay Company at Cumberland
Island... grant to the missions established at Cumberland Island by the Church
Missionary Society, and the mission established at Cumberland Island by the
Roman Catholic Church... have hereunto subscribed and set their hands at the
"Pas," on the Saskatchewan River, this seventh day of September, in the year of
Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy-six.”
● “The Cumberland Band” name was assigned by the Treaty Commissioners who
identified the five groups of people in the Treaty by using the name of their camp
locations: Cumberland Island, Sturgeon River, Angling River, Pine Bluff and
(Cut) Beaver Lake.
● Of the five (5) groups named in the Treaty, three (3) of these camps are
Kaministikominahiko-shak Cree people:
● Cumberland Island refers to Pine Island or White Spruce Island people.
(Kaministikominahiko-shak Cree people). Pemmican Portage, located 7
km. from the Hudson’s Bay Cumberland House is part of the Cumberland
● Sturgeon River people are Kaministikominahiko-shak Cree people who
scattered to many locations to survive the small pox epidemics.
● (Cut) Beaver Lake people are Kaministikominahiko-shak Cree people
mostly wiped out by small pox and starvation. The remaining families
moved to Shoal Lake and Red Earth.
● The Ratty Country is a large area where numerous Kaministikominahiko-shak
Cree families had camps (never acknowledged.) Some describe Ratty Country as
“a large area of marshes, shallow lakes and small streams, which stretched from
Cut Beaver Channel in the west and past the current location of The Pas,
Manitoba; an area approximately 80 miles long and up to 40 miles wide.”
● Angling River and Pine Bluff are distinct and separate smaller groups of smaller
groups of Cree people/bands. They are not Kaministikominahiko-shak Cree.
(Source: Briefing Note- Kaministikominahiko-shak Cree Nation, March 1, 2015)
Key Point: The Cumberland Island Band remains to this day, an amalgamated band.
The expedient grouping of these camps together under the title of the Cumberland Island Band
remains to this day. Orders in Council were never issued to de-amalgamate the Cumberland
Island Band created by the Treaty Commissioners in 1876 for the following groups under Treaty
#5 adhesion: Cumberland Island, Sturgeon River, (Cut) Beaver Lake, Angling River, Pine Bluff
and Ratty Country. If the Cumberland Island Band was de-amalgamated the results for present
day would be, at minimum, 3 separate Cree Nations:
● Kamininistikominahiko-shak (previously referred as John Cochrane)
● Pine Bluff (CHCN)
● La Corne (Peter Chapman)
Rediscovering Our Past
● In 2001, John Dorion was elected Chief of John Cochrane Band.
● The goal was to obtain federal recognition as an Indian Treaty #5 Nation.
● We restored Kaministikominahiko-shak Cree Nation, the name our territory and
community were known as, before the Treaty Commissioners had for their own
reasons decided to name our nation after the Chief John Cochrane.
● We re-established governance and membership codes.
● “How is it that the Kaministikominahiko-shak Cree Nation formerly the
Cumberland Band identified in the treaty is not recognized by the
government? What happened that sidelined our people from our land and
sovereignty? This was the first question our Elders wanted answered.
● “Who were the families that constituted the John Cochrane Band?
● Our Elders had a very important role in identifying the families that made up the
Kaministikominahiko-shak Cree Nation. Our research started with their memories
and soon we had 1200 citizens identified.
● We used our networks, built a Website and Facebook Page as our contacts
Federal Government Communication
● In 2005 under the Paul Martin Administration, KCN (aka John Cochrane First
Nation Inc.,) received $45,000. For historical research
● In 2006 KCN hand delivered a 3- volume research submission to the Treaty
Commission. After a lengthy delay, we were advised that John Cochrane
Band did not exist.
● Our historical research and oral tradition indicate that John Cochrane represented
the KCN at the Treaty #5 adhesion (the document clearly identified him as a
signatory designated as “Chief”). The people he represented were part of a forced
amalgamation with other Cree bands at the time of Treaty.
● The federal government engaged Foley and Daley Associates to answer six
specific objectives. On June 14, 2007 Larry Heineman provided an analysis of
their report for Chief Dorion. According to Heineman, although Foley and Daley
had access to more INAC documents but the additional documents while
providing some additional information on the signing of Treaty #5, they do not
change the facts regarding conclusions in the John Cochrane submission of
2006. Heineman states that one of the purposes of the report was to disprove the
claims made by the current John Cochrane group and disprove that the John
Cochrane band ever existed. The report did not succeed.
Heineman concludes that the additional details on the treaty signing confirms that
the Commissioners at the time proceeded hastily and without consulting the
residents in the Cumberland area. It also indicates that the commissioners did not
strictly follow the instructions they were given and that means they did not
proceed as required by the Royal Proclamation of 1763. This means that the
validity of the Treaty #5 making process may not be legal.
● Bellmore Law was engaged by KCN to solicit the answers requested by Chief
Dorion. A letter written February 15, 2016 re: Duty to Consult
Kaministikominahiko-shak Cree Nation (also known as John Cochrane Band
about potential and existing Treaty Rights, to the Director General, Specific
Claims Branch, Aboriginal Affairs Department begins by reporting that the
follow-up information promised in a November 5, 2015 conference call had not
yet arrived “notwithstanding assurances such information would be shared and
sent to us. The letter is in reference to the action filed against the FSIN for breach
of procedure. The letter continued, “As of January 6, 2016, the Court of Queen’s
Bench has refused once again an application to dismiss the action, and made clear
that there are serious legal issues to be heard at trialthy of the litigation
proceeding.” It continues, “The Kaministikominahiko-shak Cree Nation people
are lawfully recognized by Treaty #5 and for over 135 years the Federal
Government has refused to reinstate its treaty rights and complete its unfinished
treaty business. Bradley Bellmore concluded the letter saying, “Notwithstanding
the conference call, which did not provide any answers to these specific questions,
and the lack of any followup material, we are still requesting an answer to these
questions, otherwise we will have no choice but to file for a federal court
The specific questions asked were:
1. Is it the decision of the Specific Claims Branch that Canada only has a duty of
consultation with bands recognized and as defined under section 2(1) of the
2. Is it the decision of the Specific Claims Branch that KCN-JCB does not have
potential Treaty rights, notwithstanding it is a treaty signatory, that could be
affected by a settlement with CHCN?
3. Is it the decision that no consultation directly with representatives of KCN-
JCB will take place notwithstanding the claims being negotiated with CHCN
concerning land traditionally occupied by KCN-JCB?
This letter was cc’d to the Attorney General of Canada, Prairie Regional
Office-Saskatoon, Department of Justice Canada.
● May 2016 Briefing Note Kaministikominahiko-shak Cree Nation: Unfinished
Business De-Amalgamation & Nation to Nation Immediate action demanded:
● Legally recognize the Kaministikominahiko-shak Cree Nation by Order in
Council to de-amalgamate the 1876 Cumberland Band and provide
Administration , operating and research funding;
● Restore the Inherent Treaty rights of the children who were stripped of
their treaty rights in 1889 due to scrip.
● Establish a process to ensure the Indigenous Affairs department deals with
the Kaministikominahiko-shak Cree Nation as it deals with and provides resources
and services to all other First Nations in Canada. Chief & Council Headmen (4) &
Elders Council (6) do not receive operational or research funding.
● June 3, 2016 during a question and answer period on APTN, Chief John Dorion
asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau if KNC was qualified to be part of the new
nation-to-nation relationship announced in the mandate letter to all Ministers of
the new government. The Prime Minister gave us reassurance that the mandate
would be honoured and they would change the way they have been doing
business with our people.
Since then, the staff has refused to return our calls, respond to our letters and they
continue to treat us like we do not exist.
● In a letter dated November 3, 2016, Dorion requested that the Prime Minister
interceded in setting up a meeting. Dorion wrote,
We respectfully request that the honour of your words are fully implemented in a
nation to nation discussion with the Kaministikominahiko-shak Cree Nation. We
do not believe that we must be forced into the draconian confines of the Indian
Act. The Specific Claims Tribunal will only deal with those First Nations that
succumb to the Indian Act and provides no remedies for sovereign Treaty nations;
we find this to be unduly coercive, inappropriate and discriminatory. We must
have a sui generis means of dealing with the issues that my peoples are facing due
to unfinished Treaty business, i.e. Nation to Nation discussions. We await their
● September 26, 2019 Response of the Kaministikominhiko-shak Cree Nation to the
Preliminary Draft Report Prepared by the History Group Inc. (THG) Dated March
31, 2019 for the Claims Assessment and Treaty Mechanisms Directorate,
CIRNAC. The Elders met and studied the report in detail providing information
not included or in response to erroneous statements. The research was done
without the researchers from Vancouver either visiting the Elders or the
community they were studying. They took considerable time to consider and
provide the researchers with community perspectives.
● Amalgamation of Treaty Five Nations was illegal. Our research shows that the
government formed an amalgamation of several Cree bands living in the
Cumberland House region and our ancestors signed Treaty #5 as an
amalgamation. We believe that this action constated a breach of the Treaty.
Confirming our research, in February 2020, a federal court ruled that the
amalgamation of Indian Treaty Nations in Saskatchewan was illegal.
● February 14, 2020 letter from Debra Alivisatos, Director Claims Assessment and
Treaty Mechanisms responding to letters from Chief John Dorion sent to her
December 7, 2019 qnd December 28, 2019. She acknowledges the Elders’
concerns about not being consulted but says that the research must proceed. “The
Directorate has proceeded with the exception of the elder interviews.”Once the
research is finalized, it will be shared with Kaministikominhiko-shak Cree
Nation. Where is the report completed with the exception of the elders’
interviews? Is it done? What are its conclusions?
● February 21, 2020 from John Dorion to Debra Alivasatos Chief Dorion
expressed his concern with regard to Principles Respecting the Government
of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous. He drew her attention to
Principles #5 and #6 as they have been applied in relation to the negotiaions
taking place on our territory without our inclusion and the decision-making
taking place based on faulty information about our people’s treaty and
He concluded by writing, Reconciliation is difficult when the people writing
our history have not visited the community or talked to the Elders.
● July 18, 2020 letter from Chief John Dorion to Prime Minister Trudeau
requesting a nation to nation meeting to discuss the Court ruling on
amalgamation. No response?
When we thought that the THG was interested in our community and people, we
had a meeting to prepare. The Elders were excited about telling their knowledge to the
research group. They were let down. As a result, Chief John Dorion asked if they would
participate in writing their own history of the communities. They were enthused. The book
grew. It is in great demand. The Elders words are memorialized.