A Crown lawyer says there is no evidence the federal government’s decision to withhold treaty annuity payments in the late 1800’s did significant economic damage to the Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation.

The government suspended treaty annuities to the band as punishment for alleged participation in the Riel Rebellion.

Lauri Miller is a lawyer representing the Crown at a specific claims tribunal hearing on the issue in Saskatoon this week.

Contrary to what lawyers for the Beardy’s band say, she says First Nations people did play a significant role in the Métis uprising making up as much as a third of the rebel force.

Miller told the hearing on Thursday that the government actually used the withheld annuities to replace livestock and farm equipment on the reserve that had been damaged during the rebellion.

She says treaty annuities are a system of rewards and punishments and were not used arbitrarily against the Beardy’s and Okemasis people.

The specific claims tribunal hearing concludes Friday.