Fonds 023 Lubicon Lake Indian Nation Research collection

Lubicon Lake Indian Nation Research collection. — 1987 – 1996. — 56 cm of textual records.

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Agency History

(from The Lubicon Settlement Commission of Review Final Report, printed in Edmonton, March 1993, p. 1)

Prior to first contact with Europeans, the Lubicon Cree occupied the territory now under dispute in northern Alberta.

“When Treaty 8 was signed in 1899, the Lubicon were missed. At various times during the 1920s and 1930s, Lubicon who wanted to become part of Treaty 8 contacted the government. In 1933, they formally petitioned Ottawa to recognize their rights. In 1939 the federal government recognized the Lubicon as a separate band, but no treaty was made.

“By 1942 a government official had removed the names of many people belonging to the interior bands in order to ‘cut down expenses.’

“In the 1970s sizable oil and gas reserves were discovered on Lubicon land. In 1973 a federal Order-in-Council was passed which legally recognized the Lubicon Lake Indians as a band. In 1975 the Lubicon, with six other isolated communities, submitted a caveat to serve notice of their unextinguished Aboriginal Rights. The provincial government responded by retroactively passing Bill 29, which changed the law and thus made the Lubicon case (with the other applicants on the caveat) without basis.

“Resource development began in earnest in 1979. The ability of the Lubicon to continue their self-sufficient lifestyle was arrested by the development.

“By 1983, the number of moose killed annually had decreased from 200 to 19. That year, the World Council of Churches investigated the situation at Little Buffalo and in a personal letter to the prime minister, warned of impending “genocidal consequences”. From 1979 to 1989, the number of Lubicon on welfare changed from 10 per cent to 90 percent. It was estimated that the 400 oil wells pumped $1 million worth of oil daily; none of this revenue benefitted the Lubicon.”

In 1985, Indian Affairs agreed to study the situation, and the conflict has gone through many stages: failed negotiations, government reports, contentious land development agreements, physical confrontations and road blocks, and a United Nations Committee on Human Rights report.

On October 24 2018, the Lubicon Lake Band reached a land claim settlement agreement with the provincial and federal government.

Custodial History

This collection was assembled by Dr. Vince Salvo and Dr. Jaroslav Petryshyn, instructors at Grande Prairie Regional College, after Chief Bernard Ominayak appeared as a guest speaker for the “Grande Prairie College Speaker Series” c. 1987. The collection was donated to the archives by Dr. Petryshyn in May, 2000.

Scope and Content

The fonds consists of letters from the Lubicon Lake Indian Nation enclosing copies of documents supporting their land claim: statements from government and Lubicon officials; letters to and from the same; supporting resolutions from other Indigenous bands; news clippings of articles, editorials, cartoons and reader comments which support their position. Also included are direct statements from the Lubicon Lake Indian Nation, the March 1990 report from the Human Rights Committee (sent May 10, 1990), and The Lubicon Settlement Commission of Review Final Report, issued in March of 1993.


Title based on the subject of the collection. Letters are all from the Lubicon Lake Indian Nation, although the return address changes: the Mimir Corporation from May 1984 to November 1987, the Lubicon Lake Indian Band from November 1987 to September 1988, and the Lubicon Lake Indian Nation from October 1988 to June 1996.

This fonds has been identified as having Indigenous related content. Researchers may encounter language that is outdated and offensive. To learn more about Indigenous records at the South Peace Regional Archives please see our guide.

[Letter to Federal Indian Affairs Minister Bill McKnight], January 17, 1987
Letter describes in detail the promise the federal government gave to Lubicon Lake Cree 45 years prior for reserve lands which the government broke. Letter also describes the impact the Oil industry has had on their traditional hunting and trapping territory. Letter is written by Kenneth John Gilmour.
Location: 023.001
[Letter to Federal Indian Affairs Minister Bill McKnight], January 17, 1987
Letter is to Canadian Indian Affairs Minister Bill McKnight from the Austria Association for Endangered Peoples. The letter contains copies of signed petitions concerning the ongoing situation of the Lubicon Lake Cree. The letter also mentions that this group strongly supports the boycott of the Olympic Winter Games in Calgary.
Location: 023.002
[Copy of Letter From Rev. Peter Hamel], February 10, 1987
Letter was written by Rev. Peter Hamel, Chairperson of an interchurch coalition concerned with Indigenous rights in Canada called Project North, and sent to museums around the world. It gives an overview of the situation at Lubicon Lake and request that they consider refusing to loan Indigenous artifacts to the Glenbow Museum for display during the Calgary Winter Games.
Location: 023.003
[Presentation to the Parlimentary Standing Committee], February 16, 1987
Presentation and Letter
Presentation by Chief Ominayak before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs discussing the termination of the Fulton Inquiry and the break-down in negotiations. Two days before Chief Ominayak was scheduled to appear the Band lawyer received a letter from federal Indian Affairs Minister Bill McKnight urging the Band to return to the negotiating table. That letter is included in this document.
Location: 023.004
[Fred Lennarson Document], February 28, 1987
Written by Fred Lennarson of the Mimir Corporation. Document states that the Lubicon people have received reliable information concerning Indigenous representation in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. The last 15 minutes of the opening ceremonies would have chuck wagons chased into the arena by “Indians ‘in full war party regalia'” who would then attack and torch the wagons.
Location: 023.005
[Letter to Prime Minister Mulroney], March 3, 1987
Copy of a letter sent to Prime Minister Mulroney by The Lubicon Lake Support Group in the Netherlands about the First-Minister Conference of Aboriginal Rights.
Location: 023.006
[Letter From Museum Voor Volkenkunden Rotterdam], March 12, 1987
Copy of a letter sent to Duncan Cameron, Director of the Glenbow Museum, from the Museum Voor Volkenkunden Rotterdam stating that they have received many letters of support for Lubicon Lake. After a discussion between European museums at the ICOM-convention about this subject, they will not be loaning a Salish rattle to the Glenbow for Exhibition.
Location: 023.007
[Letter to Prime Minister Mulroney], April 2, 1987
Copy of a letter sent the Prime Minister Mulroney from the Chiefs and Councils of the Portage Band regarding the Lubicon Lake situation. Enclosed is a resolution about Lubicon Lake that was passed by them.
Location: 023.008
[Letter to Federal Indian Affairs Minister Bill McKnight], May 25, 1987
Copy of a letter sent to the Federal Minister of Indian Affairs, Bill McKnight, from Kathleen Skerrett. In this letter she expresses her concerns for the Lubicon Lake Band and she urges him to reconsider the government’s position and to resume negotiations with the band.
Location: 023.010
Paris Museum, May 28, 1987
Copy of a letter or newsletter written by Fred Lennarson of the Mimir Corporation. This document discusses a situation at the Paris Museum of Man. The curators were prepared to recommend that their museum support the Lubicon boycott of the proposed Glenbow exhibit. After political pressure, the new Director of this museum decided to proceed with loaning artifacts to the Glenbow. Lennarson asks that supporters of Lubicon write to France’s Minister of Culture, Francois Leotard, asking that the Paris Museum of Man respect the boycott and refuse to loan artifacts to the Glenbow for this exhibit.
Location: 023.011
[Letter to Federal Indian Affairs Minister Bill McKnight], June 10, 1987
Copy of a letter to Federal Indian Affairs Minister Bill McKnight from John Bud Morris, Chief of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, urging McKnight to accept Chief Ominayak’s proposal and return to the negotiation table while including a third party mediator, Mr. Fulton.
Location: 023.012
[Transcript of Monitoradio USA Broadcast], July 12, 1987
Transcript of a radio program, produced by Valerie Jean Fisher for Monitoradio in Seattle, WA. It aired on April 24, 1987. The program contains some words from Edward Laboucan, elder and trapper, in Cree which was translated by Chief Bernard Ominayak, an interview with Chief Ominayak, a statement from Bill McKnight, and from Duncan Cameron who was the Director of the Glenbow Museum.
Location: 023.013
[Exchange of Letters], July 15, 1987
Copies of an exchange of letters between an official of the Canadian Department of External Affairs and a Canadian citizen (Kurt Klingbeil) concerned about the Lubicon situation.
Location: 023.014
[Jim Manly Press Release], August 6, 1987
Press Release
Copy of a press release made by new democrat MP Jim Manly, and a letter Manly wrote to Prime Minister Mulroney. The press release calls upon the Prime Minister to intervene in the outstanding Lubicon land claim following a recent decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
Location: 023.015
[Calgary Herald Editorial and Letter to Editor], August 14, 1987
editorial and letter
Copy of an editorial on the Lubicon situation which appearing the in July 28, 1987 edition of the Calgary Herald. The headline for the editorial was “Lubicons risk backlash”. This item also contains a letter to the editor written by Chief Bernard Ominayak dated August 12, responding to the editorial of July 28.
Location: 023.016
[Exchange of Letters and Media Coverage], August 14, 1987
Copies of an exchange of letters between Chief Ominayak and Indian Affairs Minister Bill McKnight regarding Ominayak’s May 18th letter. On July 31 Bill McKnight responded thanking the Chief for willingness to resume negotiations. The response of Ominayak on August 6th questions McKnight’s response time and reiterates wanting to involve Mr. Fulton in the negotiations. There is a CKUA Radio News Transcript from August 7. Lastly, there is two newspaper articles about the whole situation.
Location: 023.017
[Decision of the U.N. Human Rights Committee], August 27, 1987
Copy of the decision from the UN Human Rights Committee regarding the admission of the Lubicon U.N. complaint. It summarizes the debate between the Lubicon people and the Government of Canada since 1984.
Location: 023.018
[Letter re: Rodewalt Cartoon], November 2, 1987
Copy of a letter sent to the publisher of the Calgary Herald by Roy Piepenburg regarding a Rodewalt cartoon entitled “Prophecy Over an Ancient Lubicon Campfire” that appeared in the October 23 edition of the Calgary Herald.
Location: 023.019
[Chief Ominayak Honored with Award], November 18, 1987
Report from Fred Lennarson indicating that Chief Ominayak will be honored with an “outstanding service award” by the New York based Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO) on December 5, 1987.
Location: 023.020
[Dr. Bruce Trigger’s Notes from Speech at McGill University], November 24, 1987
Copy of notes from a speech at McGill University given by Dr. Bruce Trigger following Chief Ominayak’s own address. Dr. Trigger was an anthropologist at McGill University. He resigned as the Honorary Curator of the McCord Museum to protest the decision of the McCord Museum to loan artifacts to the Glenbow for their exhibit.
Location: 023.021
[Negotiations Report], November 25, 1987
Report from the Lubicon Lake Band dated November 25, 1987 about negotiations. In early October a new Federal negotiator, Brian Malone, was appointed. Mr. Malone told reporters that he would have to consult with the Alberta Provincial Government because the land that Lubicon is claiming belongs to Alberta. Days later Mr. Malone met with Lubicon’s lawyer, Mr. O’Reilly who stated that the negotiation of land rights was exclusive to the Federal Government.
Location: 023.022
[Transcript of CBC Radio Broadcast], November 26, 1987
Transcript of a CBC radio broadcast from November 16, 1987. Radio interview was with Nancy Rose, a CBC TV reporter, who has created a documentary called “Lubicons’ Last Stand.” The interview is about this documentary and the situation at Lubicon.
Location: 023.023
[Confederacy of First Nations Resolution], December 18, 1987
Copy of a resolution that passed unanimously at the December 15 Confederacy of First Nations meeting showing support for the Lubicon Lake people and resolving that all First Nations be invited to hold peaceful protests at the torch relay, boycott the Glenbow exhibit, write to the oil companies to request they cease their activities until the issue is resolved, and to write the Prime Minister, M.P.’s and members of provincial legislature in support of the people of Lubicon Lake.
Location: 023.024
[Lubicon Settlement Annoucement], December 29, 1987
news release and transcript
Document contains a statement given by Chief Bernard Ominayak proposing a settlement for Lubicon Land Rights given on December 21. This statement came after Federal negotiator, Brian Malone, claimed to have the power to announce a settlement of Lubicon land rights without consulting with the Lubicon people. Document also contains a transcript from a CKUA Radio News Broadcast on December 22 discussing this event.
Location: 023.025
[Copy of Sermon], December 31, 1987
Copy of a sermon delivered by Rabbi Jordan Goldson at the Temple B’Nai Tikval in Calgary on December 18, 1987. Rabbi Goldson states that as a Jew he is concerned at 95% of the Lubicon people are on Welfare, that 20% have Tuberculosis, that their traditional way of life is being destroyed. These issues should sound familiar because they are the same ones that Jews have been struggling with for 3000 years. He calls for people to support the Lubicon people and to join arms with them in their fight for their rights. “They need us because we are a people who proudly say: ‘Never Again’ will be stand idly by and let Genocide happen to ourselves or to anyone else.”
Location: 023.026
[Letter to Prime Minister], February 2. 1988
Copy of a letter to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney from Audrey McLaughlin, Member of Parliament for the Yukon. In this letter McLaughlin expresses her concern of the situation of the Lubicon people. She urges Mulroney to invite Mr. Fulton to participate and settle the matter.
Location: 023.027
[Letter to Prime Minister], February 3. 1988
Copy of a letter sent to Prime Minister Mulroney by the President of the Winnipeg Labour Council, Heather Grant. Grant writes that their Council recently witnessed a wonderful event, the Olypic Torch relay, but that it was terrible seeing members and friends of the Lubicon people protesting because of the lack of action regarding their land claim. Grant asks that the Prime Minister give this issue immediate attention and action.
Location: 023.028
[Letter Exchange with Prime Minister], April 21. 1988
Copy of Prime Minister Mulroney’s March 30th response to Chief Ominayak’s February 26 letter demanding the removal and replacement of Federal Indian Affairs Minister McKnight. In this letter Mulroney urges Ominayak to work with McKnight and Brian Malone (federal negotiator). Document also contains a copy of Chief Ominayak’s April 20th response.
Location: 023.029
[Letter to Prime Minister], March 11. 1988
Copy of letter sent to Prime Minister Mulroney by Chief Saul Terry, the President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs regarding the Lubicon Lake situation.
Location: 023.030
[Letter to Prime Minister], March 25. 1988
Copy of letter sent to Prime Minister Mulroney by the Saugeen Ojibway Nations Territories on February 9, 1988. They support the Lubicon’s right to determine who and how many members they have in their community and ask that the government does this as well.
Location: 023.031
Transcript of CBC Radio Edmonton A.M. “Commentary”, November 6. 1988
Transcript of a CBC Radio Edmonton A.M. commentary show from October 17, 1988. Radio segment was about the blockade by the Lubicon people and about 150 their supporters in northern Alberta. Woodrow Morrison, a consultant on International Law, spoke on this matter.
Location: 023.032
[Letter to Prime Minister], November 9. 1988
Copy of a November 2, 1988 letter to Prime Minister Mulroney from Chief Billy Tow Rivers on behalf of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake about the Lubicon Lake situation.
Location: 023.033
[Letter to Prime Minister], November 27. 1988
Copy of a November 3, 1988 letter to Prime Minister Mulroney from the Chairperson of the Advisory Council of Treaty Women, Helen Gladue. This letter is asking that the Lubicon people receive fair compensation for the natural resources removed from their land and their right to establish which persons comprise their group. They believe that the time for a just settlement of the Lubicon Lake land claim is long overdue.
Location: 023.034
[Letter to Indian Affairs Minister Pierre Cadieux], March 16, 1989
Copy of a letter to the new Minister of Indian Affairs, Pierre Cadieux, from Kevin Thomas regarding a letter Thomas received from Cadieux’s predecessor Mr. McKnight about the situation at Lubicon Lake. Thomas hopes that Cadieux will be better than Mr. McKnight in his handling of this situation.
Location: 023.035
[Newspaper Article and Response From Lubicon], April 16, 1989
Document contains a newspaper article titled “Lubicon offer ‘a pittance'”, and a written response from Lubicon Lake Indian Nation about the settlement offer from the Canadian Government.
Location: 023.036
[Materials Prepared by Organization Concerned About Lubicon], April 16, 1989
document package
Document contains material that was prepared by several organization that are concerned by the Lubicon Lake situation. It includes a letter written by the group that describes the ongoing situation, asks that the reader to participate in a letter writing campaign, and directs the reader in how to support them in other ways. In addition to the letter, there is a strategy sheet, and a sample letter that readers can use to write to the Prime Minister.
Location: 023.037
[Letter to Prime Minister], October 28, 1989
Copy of a letter sent to Prime Minister Mulroney by Chief Ominayak on October 28, 1989. In this letter, Ominayak informs the Prime Minister that effective November 1, 1989, Federally owned Petro-Canada and other oil companies working in conjunction with them on unceded Lubicon Land have 30 days to obtain operating permits and leases from the Lubicon people and make arrangements for the payment of royalties. The failure to meet any of these conditions will result in removal of developments on unceded Lubicon territory.
Location: 023.038
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