NAN encouraged by requirement for consultation and accommodation for new mining development

    THUNDER BAY, ON, July 14 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief
Stan Beardy is encouraged that new mining development in the Far North Boreal
region will require early consultation and accommodation with local Aboriginal
communities under the Government of Ontario's Far North Planning initiative
announced today.
    "This is good news for the people of Nishnawbe Aski, as it will require
that First Nations be fully involved in resource development in our
traditional territory," said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy. "Not only will this
provide clarity for First Nations, Ontario and industry as we pursue new
economic opportunities, but it will also support any First Nations who may not
be ready for resource development in their territory."
    NAN has worked diligently through Oski-Machiitawin (formerly "Northern
Table") to accelerate bilateral discussions with the Government of Ontario
regarding lands and resources. NAN recognizes that local land use planning is
a requirement in mapping resource development in each of the First Nation
territories. NAN needs to identify those areas to be protected and areas for
potential resource development.
    "As First Nations people we are not against resource development, but we
want to be consulted and we want to have meaningful input into the
decision-making process," said Beardy. "It is critical that any development of
natural resources in the Far North must respect Aboriginal and treaty rights
while supporting an environmentally sustainable economic future for our
    The Northern Table, a bilateral partnership between NAN Chiefs and the
Government of Ontario, was established November 2007 with the intent to
jointly develop a results-based process to address and resolve current
challenges in the areas of consultation and accommodation, resource
development, mining, parks, and licensing permits within NAN territory.
    "Our lands hold great potential for economic opportunities and the chance
to create better lives for our people," said Beardy. "By being active
participants in resource development we can ensure that our homelands, our
communities, and our Aboriginal and treaty rights are respected.
    Ontario's Far North is the homeland of thousands of Nishnawbe Aski Nation
people and many First Nations, encompassing 43 percent of the province's land
base and includes the largest intact forest in Canada and the third largest
wetland in the world. In addition to being the homelands of the Nishnawbe Aski
Nation people, this vast boreal landscape plays an essential role in
mitigating the effects of global climate change because of its capacity to
absorb and store greenhouse gases in trees, soil and peat.

    Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political territorial organization
representing 49 First Nation communities in James Bay Treaty 9 and Ontario
portions of Treaty 5 - an area covering two thirds of the province of Ontario.

For further information:

For further information: Michael Heintzman, Media Relations Officer,
Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625-4906 or (807) 621-2790 mobile

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