The Waywayseecappo First Nation is located in Manitoba. The Band has approximately 1,127 members.
In 2004, the Waywayseecappo First Nation submitted the Illegal Surrender Claim to the Government of Canada. The specific claim has to do with the illegal surrender of 30 square miles of land in I.R. #62. The claim was accepted for negotiations in 2007 and it is currently at the Specific Claims Tribunal.
History of the Claim:
In 1877, the government set aside 45,869 acres of land (I.R. #62) for the Band. Some of the reserve land was located east of Bird Trail Creek. A few years later, the Sharman family arrived in the area near Bird Trail Creek. They were interested in purchasing properties in the area. Soon enough, in 1879, Joseph Sharman sent a request to the government of Canada asking if he could purchase seven sections of land. Later that year, Sharman purchased the lands.
Problems quickly arose in 1880, however, when the Crown realized that some of the Sharman Lands were within the boundaries of the reserve. Since the Band had not surrendered their right to the lands, the sale was illegal. Although the Crown knew that the sale was illegal, it did not inform the Band that some of their lands had been sold without their knowledge. As a result, Sharman did not receive the rights to the land.
Sharman, however,  remained persistent in purchasing the Sharman Lands. In 1880, he wrote a letter to Prime Minister John A. MacDonald and presented him with two choices. He first asked for an arrangement to be made in order for him to purchase the Sharman Lands. If this was not possible, he asked that the government allow him to relocate and choose new lands without any restriction as to location. A week after he sent the letter, the government notified Sharman that he would be allowed to relocate.
It seems, however, that Sharman took advantage of his freedom to relocate the lands. He chose lands that were extremely valuable and worth much more than what he had paid for them.
Finally, in 1881, the Crown decided to obtain a surrender from the Band regarding 30 square miles of lands in I.R. #62. The surrender would also include the Sharman Lands.
On February 24, 1881, a surrender meeting was held. At the time the meeting was held, the Band had 70 male members who were 21 years of age and eligible to vote. According to the terms of the Indian Act, a majority vote was required for the surrender to be considered legal. Despite the fact that there were only 13 eligible male voters present, the surrender meeting was held.
The Band claims that since a vote was not obtained from all eligible male voters, the surrender was illegal. In addition, the Crown failed to mention to the Band the reasons for obtaining the surrender – the Band was unaware that sections of their land had been purchased. The Crown had an obligation to protect the Band’s interest and notify them when the land was sold to Sharman.
The claim is currently at the Specific Claims Tribunal.