Gull Bay First Nation has joined ongoing litigation proceedings that could finally resolve the issue of outdated annuity rates paid to members of the Robinson-Superior and Robinson-Huron treaties of 1850.

“Gull Bay’s chief and council will ask (Ontario’s Superior Court) to ensure that our Nation and its members both on and off reserve get a fair share of the damages based on its population,” the band said this week in a news release.

The current annuity of $4 per year — which has long been regarded as ridiculously low — hasn’t been updated for nearly 150 years.

In 2018, Superior Court Justice Patricia Hennessy ruled the rates were legally required to be raised; the annuities were introduced in the mid-19th century for use of traditional Indigenous lands for industrial purposes, such as mining and logging.

Earlier this month, the province lost its appeal of Hennessy’s ruling at the Ontario Court of Appeal

“Justice Hennessy affirmed what we always believed, that we did not give our land away for a pittance, but expected to genuinely share in the wealth of territory,” Gull Bay Chief Wilfred King said in the Gull Bay news release.

“It is contrary to the spirit of reconciliation and the Robinson Superior Treaty that our people are forced to resolve this matter in court, given the Court of Appeal’s clear message that the time to resolve this is now through prompt and just negotiations,” King added.