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May 14,2008
Indians sue for $550 billion land rights
by UPI

OTTAWA -- A $550 billion lawsuit claiming mineral and land rights was filed against two Canadian governments in Ottawa by an Indian band in Ontario.

The Whitefish Lake First Nation claims the federal and Ontario provincial governments are using flawed data from an 1885 survey that set out boundaries for their reservations that cut them out of the mineral-rich area around Sudbury, the Globe and Mail reported Wednesday.

Aaron Detlor, the lawyer representing the group, said it would be willing to drop the lawsuit if it can negotiate a financial arrangement with area companies and the governments over mineral and forestry rights.

The 2001 census shows the tribe has 335 members although its leaders claim there are really 800, the report said.

Federal Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl told the newspaper there is a system for dealing with such lawsuits.

"At any given time, there are hundreds and hundreds of lawsuits or claims that may be tabled with the federal government," he said. "Some of them are legit and some of them aren't."

Copyright © 2008, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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