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Copway

The Saugeen Band of today believe they were promised something they weren't. What they think they were promised is mathematically impossible. They have forgotten that because of the mathematical impossibility, their ancestors already fought for their rightful treaty boundary over 160 years ago and won. The Saugeen Band have what they were promised in 1854 by way of the Copway Road Amendment of September 27, 1855. Not only have the Saugeen Band forgotten this history, so has everyone else. Because we have forgotten, it seems like the Saugeen Band have a case that their boundary should be extended, but when you dig deep enough the truth is revealed.

Three problematic questions for the defense have stood in the way to proving why the Saugeen Reserve's NE boundary should not extend to midpoint Lot 31 (near 6th Street, Sauble Beach). Since the three questions have not been definitively answered, the Saugeen Band's claim appears to have substance. I have been researching the three questions for several years now and I have found definitive answers. I have comprehensive explanations with supporting evidence, but since this is a letter to the editor, I can only offer three abbreviated answers for consideration to the questions that, at one time, seemed impossible to answer:

1. How can the measurement from the original NW position of the western boundary to the NE < Ind. Res. notation found on the 1855 draft map equal 9 ½ miles and still not be the NE corner of the Saugeen Reserve?

No one ever considered the Copway Road Amendment or took the time to measure the amended NW position of the western boundary at Copway Road to Lot 25/26 to find it also equals 9 ½ miles. Rankin stated that the amendment would not change the terms of the treaty, therefore 9 ½ miles must be measured from the amended boundary, not the original. This locates the NE corner of the Saugeen Reserve at Lot 25/26 (Main Street).

2. Why is the NE < Ind. Res. notation marked on the 1855 draft map?

This is the most difficult question to answer definitively, however, it could be one of two explanations. Rankin may have marked the location in October, 1855 on his initial traverse between the Saugeen River and the Sauble River. He would have done this in the belief that this was where the NE corner of the Saugeen Reserve would be before he realized the mathematical impossibility. If it was not marked on the draft map at this time, logic dictates it is a reference marker used as a starting point to enable Rankin to connect two points and establish the True North line. Once he has established the line he was able to locate the NE corner of the Saugeen Reserve to the south, just inside of Lot 25 where the edge of the Lake meets land.

3. How can the notation on the physical post at midpoint Lot 31 "NE angle of Saugeen Reserve according to treaty boundary running south" not be considered corroboration of the INAC/Saugeen Band argument?

Without the details of the Copway Road Amendment, this does indeed seem like corroboration. However, considering elaborate notations of this nature were not the norm on posts in Rankin's time, this particular post is communicating something special. The SE angle of Chief Point's eastern boundary is simply marked "Post" on the draft map. Adding to the confusion, the notation on the map at midpoint Lot 31 does not match the physical post notation at midpoint Lot 31. If this indeed is the location of the NE corner of the Saugeen Reserve, there is no need to add the phrase "according to treaty boundary running south" on the physical post. It implies that there is something else to consider other than the treaty boundary location. With the Copway Road amendment in mind, it is logical that the physical post is communicating that midpoint Lot 31 was the originally believed NE corner location of the Saugeen Reserve according to the original treaty text, but due to the Copway Road amendment and other mathematical problems, this is no longer the case. Similar notation communications made by Charles Rankin regarding the western boundary relocation corroborate this explanation.

None of the answers above are inventive reasoning and what they do require in the way of assumption is minimal. They are built on facts, they make sense according to recorded history, and they can be mathematically proven. Assumptions that are made are logical and are built using the facts. These three answers convincingly refute the argument Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and the Saugeen Band have put forth and supported for the last thirty years.

More information on my blog.

David Dobson

South Bruce Peninsula

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