Anishinabek encourage joint process on Far North plan

    QUEBEC CITY, July 14 /CNW/ - First Nations within the Anishinabek Nation
welcome the Government of Ontario's plan to protect Ontario's north and to
open up economic opportunities to First Nations. However, we are greatly
concerned that it will be done in isolation of important treaty relationships
with Ontario First Peoples.
    "We welcome any changes to the Ontario Mining Act, but change has to be
done in partnership with First Nations," says Anishinabek Nation Grand Council
Chief John Beaucage. "We want economic sustainability for all First Nations
and for all people in Ontario."
    Last week, Grand Council Chief Beaucage met with the Northern Development
and Mines Minister Gravelle and discussed the development of a memorandum of
understanding (MOU) where government and First Nations would agree on a
process to jointly draft legislative changes, agree upon the development of a
joint consultation strategy, and enable an engagement process with First
Nations on a treaty-by-treaty basis.
    "This would be the start to a comprehensive treaty-based discussion,"
says Beaucage. "This is a rights-based matter and it is important for
Government to work with our First Nations on a treaty-by-treaty basis."
    "Our goal is to ensure these changes enhance the treaty relationships,
clarify the rules and environment for sustainable development," added
    The Grand Council Chief also welcomes a province-wide resource benefit
sharing agreement similar to the $3 billion over 25 years Ontario Gaming and
Lottery Commission agreement ratified in February. However, there is also a
need to develop a resource benefit framework based on the treaties.
    "We cannot continue to be lumped into one homogenous group, even as First
Nations. Our people have unique relationships when it comes to treaties. The
government has unique obligations when it comes to implementing the treaties.
First Nations also have unique needs and goals when it comes to resource
development," said Grand Council Chief Beaucage. "We strongly encourage the
government to come to the table and work with us on a new, modern treaty
implementation framework."

    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: Bob Goulais, Executive Assistant to the Grand
Council Chief, Phone: (705) 497-9127(ext. 2249) or Cell: (705) 498-5250,

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Anishinabek Nation

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Union of Ontario Indians

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