The Innu of Pessamit have launched a $75-million legal challenge against the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, according to a report in the Montreal Gazette.
The Innu cited the fact that they were not a part of the JBNQA in 1975 signed between the Cree and Inuit, and Quebec and Canada, despite staking claim to land that falls within the boundaries of the agreement.
The report came a day after the Innu announced that they would contest North Shore logging permits issued by the Quebec government to 28 forestry companies.
They say that both levels of government have never dutifully acknowledge their rights to 140,000 square kilometres north of Baie Comeau.
They launched a $1.3 billion lawsuit against Quebec and Ottawa, as well as against the forestry companies.
Pessamit Chief Raphael Picard said the Innu want compensation in the form of cash for the loss of rights to the land in question under the JBNQA.
He also mentioned that a treaty with Quebec would not be possible because they want the Innu to extinguish certain rights, something which Picard said his people would not agree to.
“We want to safeguard our ancestral rights,” Picard said in the May 3 Gazette story. “With Quebec’s position, we only have the right to hunt and fish. Accepting that would be a step backwards.”