Anishinabek negotiate new forest deal with Ontario



    Enabling a "new way of doing business" - Beaucage

    NIPISSING FIRST NATION, ON, July 30 /CNW/ - First Nations in Ontario are
embarking on a new process to build their economies by negotiating a new
forestry deal with the Government of Ontario.
    Today, the Anishinabek Nation announced the establishment of Forestry
Framework Agreement negotiations with the Ministry of Natural Resources that
will enable their 42 member First Nations to have better access to forest
allocations as well as stronger involvement in forest management planning,
opportunities for economic development and capacity building.
    "Our goal is to be a more active participant in the resource-based
economy by solidifying our involvement in forest industry," said Grand Council
Chief John Beaucage. "These forestry negotiations mark a significant milestone
for our Anishinabek Forestry Commission and the development of a sustainable,
First Nations economy."
    The concept of a Forestry Framework Agreement was the brainchild of the
recently established Anishinabek Forestry Commission, which was mandated to
provide recommendations to the Grand Council Chief and the 42 First Nation
Chiefs of the Anishinabek Nation on all matters related to forestry policy,
forest management and economic matters related to the industry. The Commission
consists of First Nation representatives from each of the four regions of the
Anishinabek Nation territory.
    "Through this negotiation process we will ensure that we protect and
implement our treaty right to the forest resources, ensure we obtain benefit
in the forest industry and ensure our policy proposals and alternatives are
implemented within Ontario's forest management regime," said Chief
Commissioner Wilfred King, who is chairperson of the Anishinabek Forestry
Commission.
    Grand Council Chief Beaucage says the Anishinabek Nation is well aware of
the pressures being faced by the forest industry illustrated by mill closures,
job losses and dwindling profit margins. However, he says that "First Nations
are poised to enable a new way of doing business in the forest industry
through community-based forestry operations."
    "There are still many challenges to overcome, namely the sustainability
of the forest sector," said Beaucage. "These negotiations will look at new
ways of doing business. The big-business monopolies of the past need to make
way to enable small business and community-based opportunities."
    An agreement on a forestry framework will be a significant achievement
considering the low-level of Anishinabek participation in the Ontario forest
sector currently. Historically, Ontario's forest policy has been reactionary
to First Nations involvement, having to abide by regulatory terms and
conditions, Supreme Court decisions on consultation and other factors. A new
Forestry Framework Agreement will commit the Government over the long term, to
make policy change and take a proactive approach which will strengthen and
institutionalize the role of Anishinabek communities in forest management.

    The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its
secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 42 member First
Nations across Ontario. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political
organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of
Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.





For further information:

For further information: Nadine Roach, Forestry Coordinator, Union of
Ontario Indians, (705) 497-9127 ext. 2234, roanad@anishinabek.ca; Marci
Becking, Communications Officer, Union of Ontario Indians, (705) 497-9127 ext.
2290, becmar@anishinabek.ca

Organization Profile

Anishinabek Nation

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Union of Ontario Indians

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