09/16/2014 06:27 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 00:54 EDT

Riel Rebellion legal skirmish in Saskatchewan: band seeks withheld treaty pay

SASKATOON - A legal skirmish is unfolding in Saskatchewan over sanctions imposed on a First Nation in the years immediately following the 1885 Riel Rebellion.

The federal government withheld treaty payments from 1885 to 1889 to members of "disloyal" bands in the region.

The Beardy's and Okemasis (oh-key-MAW-suss) First Nation says only a few of its people were only marginally involved in the Metis rebellion and the band should not have been considered a rebel group.

The band has filed a claim with a federally-appointed independent tribunal for compensation for these missed payments, plus interest.

Hearings on the case are taking place this week at a First Nation's heritage park just north of Saskatoon.

Beardy's Chief Rick Gamble says if their claim is successful it could affect 13 other First Nations that had treaty annuity payments withheld at the time. (CJWW)