First Nations to examine opportunities in energy

    NIPISSING FIRST NATION, ON, Jan. 22 /CNW/ - There are unprecedented
opportunities for First Nations in renewable energy generation and
transmission throughout First Nations territories. First Nations in Ontario
are embarking on an engagement process to identify potential opportunities and
partnerships in energy.
    "It may not seem logical that First Nations are talking opportunity and
economic benefit during a recession. But for First Nations, the opportunity
for involvement in energy development hasn't been more ideal. Unlike others,
we have a great deal to offer and not much to lose," said Grand Council Chief
John Beaucage, leader of the 42-member First Nations of the Anishinabek
    The Union of Ontario Indians will host five community engagement meetings
and call upon a panel of energy experts to provide advice to the Ontario Power
Authority (OPA) and the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure at the direction
the Anishinabek Nation wants to take in energy opportunities.
    Some opportunities and potential for development partnerships with First
Nations include prime areas along the Great Lakes for wind power development;
land for biomass generation projects, and ideal locations for alternative,
small hydro, and non-evasive hydro projects. First Nations are also the
rights-holders to vast territories across Ontario available for new energy
infrastructure projects, including a new North-South transmission corridor
that must come through Anishinabek Nation's territory.
    In September, The Honourable George Smitherman directed the OPA to
undertake an enhanced process of consultation with First Nations to examine
opportunities and partnerships in renewable power generation and transmission.
The consultations would be reflected in the Integrated Power System Plan
(IPSP), the 20-year plan designed to meet the energy needs of Ontario.
    Although the OPA was asked to report back to the Minister within six
months - the Anishinabek Nation assert that this process is uniquely their
    "Our First Nations have directed us to engage our own communities - to
determine our own needs and aspirations surrounding energy opportunities,"
said Grand Council Chief Beaucage. "We acknowledge the full scope of the
opportunities available to us in energy. It is for that reason we opted to
consult with our own communities and citizens in this matter and not leave
this up to the OPA and the Government."
    The Engagement Sessions will be held as follows:
    - January 26, 2009 - Thunder Bay, Ontario - Victoria Inn
    - January 28, 2009 - Garden River First Nation - Community Centre
    - February 4, 2009 - Alderville First Nation - Community Centre
    - February 6, 2009 - Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation - Elders Centre
    - February 11, 2009 - Aamjiwnaang First Nation - Community Centre

    The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its
political advocate and secretariat in 1949. The Union of Ontario Indians is
the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to
the Confederacy of Three Fires that have existed long before European contact.

For further information:

For further information: Bob Goulais, Chief of Staff & Executive
Assistant to the Grand Council Chief, Ph. (705) 497-9127, Fax. (705) 497-9135,
Cell: (705) 498-5250, E-mail:; Marci Becking,
Communications Officer, Union of Ontario Indians, Phone: (705) 497-9127 (ext.
2290), Cell: (705) 494-0735, E-mail:

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Anishinabek Nation

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Union of Ontario Indians

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