Burls Creek archaeological site

July 18, 2017

By Grand Chief Kieth Doxsee

The Ontario Municipal Board (“OMB”) issued a decision approving the temporary use of the Burls Creek Event Grounds for large scale concert events.

The archaeology issues were addressed by archaeologists hired by the property owner and the MMFN’s expert witness, Mr. Paul Racher, who is a partner in Archeological Research Associates and President of the Archaeological Society of Ontario.

No evidence of Indigenous archaeological remains were found but archaeologists found Euro Canadian remains and a portion of the site is now designated as an Archeological site.

A large portion of the property (3.2 acres) was not assessed by the property owner’s archaeologist and claimed to be “simply missed”.

The MMFN insisted the 3.2 acres be subjected to a Stage 2 Assessment, as required under the Ontario Heritage Act, but the property owner instead opted to exclude the property from the application. This allows the owner to avoid a Stage 2 Archaeological Assessment but keeps the property undisturbed.

Until the 3.2 acres are investigated by an archaeologist the possibility of archaeological remains continues. The doubt can only be removed by another study and, under Ontario law, is required if the property owner plans to change the existing use of the 3.2 acres. Although this outcome is not entirely

satisfactory the MMFN is pleased it succeeded in excluding the 3.2 acres from the application.

We continue to be concerned about illegal top soil stripping done in December 2015. The Township declined our request for information in January 2016 and nothing has been provided since then.

Compounding this is a request to Oro-Medonte Township, from a local Status Indian band, to have the illegally removed top soil screened for human remains. Although we asked for information about this request nothing was provided by the Township.

The OMB decision is subject to appeal and the local citizen’s group (Save Oro and West Oro Ratepayers Association) is considering its options. The MMFN is also considering whether to appeal.

Thursday April 14, 2016 the Supreme Court of Canada upheld that  non status Indians and Metis are Indians under section 92(24) of the Canada Constitution Act.

This expands the “Powley test metis” to include anyone with native ancestry. All aboriginal people in Canada, including status Indians are on the same playing field. The implications have not been assessed by governments and municipalities in Canada. There are many question such as who will issue status cards if everyone is equal? Such issues will be in the forefront in the years to come.

Montagnais Metis First Nation (MMFN) intervenes to protect Huron remains at Burl’s Creek concert grounds

The MMFN were granted party status with the Ontario Municipal Board so they could protect an ancient Huron Wendat ancestral village located at Burl’s Creek north of Barrie Ontario. Burl’s Creek hosted the Way Home and the Boots and Hearts concerts in 2015 that attracted 75,000 people.

When the MMFN first learned of the ancestral village in August 2015 they asked to be consulted. “We think this is not only a courtesy but is seen by Archeologists  as an essential part of planning and development. In our view any Aboriginal group that asks to be consulted should be included and not doing this only leads to problems for everyone involved” says Chief Doxsee.

 “The Huron Wendat were here for hundreds, possibly thousands, of years before the arrival of Europeans. Experts identified an ancestral village on the site and it is highly probably there are remains of Huron Wendat  on the land.  The Township has refused to discuss this and withheld a recent Archeological report that we expect will  show there is  potential for Aboriginal remains on the property”, said Chief Doxsee, “Our concerns increased when we learned the promoter removed tons of top soil which was witnessed by local citizens on December 4, 2015 about a week before the Township received the report. We asked for complete disclosure of this event, including any enforcement action taken by the Township, but nothing was provided. The timing is highly coincidental and we think full disclosure is needed for us to assess how this issue was handled and the potential impact on the site

The MMFN decided to take action by asking to be a party to the OMB hearing considering a development application of the promoter. “We saw no option for us” says Chief Doxsee. “If no one is willing to speak with us the only way to obtain information is to have the legal power to compel documents and question witnesses. Party status gives us this ability.  Our goal in the process  is to protect the site and ensure it is properly investigated and managed and this means questioning any person with relevant information”.

Subsequent to the meeting the MMFN learned of another site in jeopardy not far from Burl’s Creek. The site dates from around 1635 to 1650 and once was home to the Jesuits who worked to convert the Huron Wendat to Christianity. This site is also in jeopardy with construction nearby. “The more we learn the more we think this is the tip of the iceberg. We have no confidence in  the Township’s ability to protect and manage Huron Wendat sites, which  are scattered throughout the Township,  and are asking the  Ministry of Culture,Tourism and Sport to immediately  take charge of the Burl’s Creek site to determine the extent of the ancestral village and protect it from damage”, Chief Doxsee further stated.

The MMFN expects to be involved throughout the process and will remain involved until the site has been properly examined, any remains identified and properly handled and the Aboriginal communities are satisfied the matter has been resolved to their satisfaction.

Chief Doxsee believes problems could have been avoided if the promoter and Township had recognized the importance of Aboriginal sacred sites and had handled it in a respectful and honourable way.

For more information contact the MMFN at:



The Grand Chief of the Montagnais Metis First Nation, Keith Doxsee has voiced his concern to Oro-Medonte township relating to at least two ancient Huron-wendat villages discovered on the grounds of Burl’s Creek. The Huron-wendat of Wendake Quebec, have also been informed of their ancient ancestral villages. These villages have never been excavated or explored for possible burial mounds. The Burl’s Creek property is well known and has recently hosted several successful music festivals.

“...Our Nation's Indian ancestry includes Hurons in Quebec and Ontario..........As the Grand Chief of the Montagnais Metis First Nation I speak for our membership on issues affecting our Nation. I ask that you include us on any consultations with respect to Aboriginal matters in the Township.....”

NEW GRAND CHIEF APPOINTED - Montagnais Metis First Nation. May 8, 2015

Keith Doxsee has accepted the position of Grand Chief of the Montagnais Metis First Nation. His credentials include degrees and professional designations in business and commerce. He hails from  Mississauga Ontario where he owns and operates an accounting firm. Kieth will contribute his expertise to the next phase of our community development.

Supreme Court granted CAP it’s appeal November 20, 2014

Going into 2015, the Supreme court is preparing for the appeal of Daniels vs Canada granted to CAP November 20, 2014. The appeal relates to the “Powley test” limitation on Metis identity and the exclusion of non-status Indians who were also left out of the original lower court of appeal in April 2014 as “Indian” under the Canada Constitution Act.

In the original appeal that excluded non-status Indians, the judge declared that non-status Indians were Indians under the Indian Act and should be remedied by an amendment to this Act. Unfortunately CAP would be required to pursue a questionable and precarious legal road to ensure that the Indian Act would be amended. The only recourse for CAP was an appeal to the Supreme Court.

The MNO (Metis Nation of Ontario) have applied as an intervener in the new appeal and would have preferred that the Supreme Court had not granted CAP the appeal “as the Federal Court of Canada ruling earlier this year clarified all issues impacting Métis” (Lipinski: http://www.metisnation.org/news--media/news/latest-daniels-ruling-a-victory-for-metis).

The Supreme court need only verify that non-status Indians who have been ostracized by the wording of the Indian Act are indeed Indians under the Canada Constitution Act.