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Needs his deed indeed

Fort Res man upset over loss of family document

Terry Halifax
Northern News Services

Deninu Koe/Fort Resolution (Aug 20/01) - A Fort Resolution man has lost a piece of his family's history and blames the government for his loss.

Angus Beaulieu lives on the first privately owned lands in Fort Resolution and says he has the paperwork to prove it -- or at least he did.

Angus Beaulieu displays the photocopy of an original land title deed to his Fort Resolution property. In 1998 he gave MACA his original for photocopying and hasn't seen it since. - Terry Halifax/NNSL photo

When Beaulieu allowed the government to build a road through his property a lands officer took the original title deed -- a linen parchment dated March 4, 1922 -- to have it photocopied in 1998, but it was never returned.

"There was a small property connected to mine at the back that used to belong to the Hudson's Bay, and I leased it from the Northern Store for 10 years," he said. "When they were putting in a road, I agreed to give them the land in exchange for the other land a and a little bit of money."

"I signed the paper and they said they had to have the old title from my grandfather," he said. "I hated to part with it, but they said they'd make sure I got it back."

The officers gave him a receipt for the document and Beaulieu never saw it again, so he phoned last spring to find out what happened to the original.

"I hadn't heard from them at all and I worried that if something happened to me it would get lost forever," he said. "They kept on telling me they were looking for it and then they sent me this new one about two months ago."

Last week, a lands officer from Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA) presented Beaulieu with a photocopy of the original title.

"I asked how they got a copy, if they didn't have the original, but they said they had their own original," he said. "But if they had their own, why did they need mine in the first place?" The original deed titled the land to his grandfather, Johnnie Beaulieu, who got the land from his father, Pierre, who originally secured the title in December 1898.

"It was almost all Hudson's Bay land. Indian Affairs had a little piece and there was one other trading post there," he said.

Beaulieu is the patriarch of the town's history and has many of the old documents and artifacts from his family's history in Fort Resolution. He feels the parchment is a part of his family's legacy and he should have it to pass on to his children.

If he doesn't get the deed back, he says he plans more drastic measures.

"If they want to just keep that document -- and I don't think it's any good to them -- but I'm going to give them 30 days," he said. "If I don't get that paper, I have 20 big logs and I'll take the road back and block it."

Tannis Murdock, the lands transfer officer with MACA, told Beaulieu they will do their best to locate the original.