TIMMINS, ON, Dec. 6, 2013 /CNW/ - An Anishinabek Nation leader is
calling on Premier Kathleen Wynne to immediately convene a discussion
on the implications of treaty rights on resource extraction in Ontario.
Chief Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini, Serpent River First Nation, told delegates at the Northern Leaders Forum that the withdrawal of
Cliffs Resources from the giant Ring of Fire chromite development in
Northwestern Ontario indicates the need for clear guidelines to be
established about the rights of First Nations to be full partners in
any resource-based activity on their traditional lands.
"The Growth Plan model presents an opportunity for everyone in Ontario
to recognize Treaties in Ontario. We want the premier and Minister
Gravelle (Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines)
to start talking about treaties immediately. Recent challenges with
the Ring of Fire is tells us that there is a lack of treaty recognition
and First Nations need to be included as a full partner in
The Growth Plan for Northern Ontario is a Strategic Framework to guide
the decision-making process on government spending and investment.
"We are the First Peoples of Canada and our rights are enshrined in
Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution. We have sovereignty over our
traditional territories and it is time that both the federal and
Ontario government recognized this."
The Northern Leaders Forum is hosted by the Ontario government in an
attempt to bring all partners together to collaborate on Northern
Ontario's Growth Plan and strategic planning.
Chief Day emphasized that First Nation rights take precedence over the
rights of municipalities and other interest groups represented at the
forum. He also pointed out that First Nations can play a valuable role
in resource development.
"Sixty per cent of mining resources in Ontario are located on our
traditional territories. If Ontario and mining companies want to
proceed with development, meaningful inclusion of First Nations could
promote certainty, stability and access.
"We want to be full partners in resource development and we request our
fair share of the resource wealth extracted from our lands. Last year
the value of production in mining was $11 billion and it is high time
that Ontario and Canada recognized our rights to our resources.
"We need to have our treaties implemented and we intend to hold the
government accountable. The Robinson Huron Treaty was signed almost 200
years ago and the promises and commitments made to us have not been
kept. Now is the time for a change.
Chief Day serves as Lake Huron Regional Chief for the Anishinabek
Nation, a confederacy of 39 First Nations across Ontario, and he holds
the Lands and Resources portfolio for the Anishinabek Leadership
Council. He sees the Northern Leaders Forum as a vehicle to further
the recognition of First Nation rights in a meaningful way so that
First Nations can share in the economic benefits derived from their
"First Nations can and will play a major role in Ontario's future
development. Meaningful recognition of our rights and inclusion will
spur prosperity in our province. I challenge Ontario to accept our
full participation and involvement. We are ready to proceed along this
The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its
secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 39 member
communities across Ontario, representing approximately 55,000 people.
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.
SOURCE: Anishinabek Nation
For further information:
Marci Becking, Communications Officer
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