NAN welcomes reaffirmation of Ontario's commitment to resource benefits sharing

    THUNDER BAY, ON, April 27 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief
Stan Beardy welcomed today's reaffirmation by the Government of Ontario of its
commitment to resource benefits sharing with Aboriginal communities.
    "I am encouraged that the Government of Ontario will honour this very
important commitment and I welcome the opportunity to establish what a fair
and equitable system for resource benefits sharing should look like," said
Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy. "The Government of
Ontario made commitments to resource benefits sharing last year. This is a
good start, and NAN Chiefs are anxious for more details on how this will
impact their First Nations."
    Resource benefits sharing is expected to promote economic development and
spin-offs from natural resource development as well as job creation and skills
training for Aboriginal communities. It is included in the Government of
Ontario's Far North Planning Initiative as well as its Mining Act
modernization initiative.
    "When our First Nations signed Treaty 5 and Treaty 9 there was an
understanding they would share in the wealth that came from the development of
our lands. More than 100 years later we still do not have a have a mechanism
by which NAN First Nations will see these benefits," said Beardy. "Our hope is
that we can finally develop a framework for resource benefit sharing that
creates and strengthens economic opportunities for First Nations while
ensuring that our homelands, our communities, and our Aboriginal and treaty
rights are respected."
    A NAN Resource Revenue/Benefits Sharing Technical Group, an inclusive
negotiations process, is currently developing proposals aimed at ensuring that
NAN First Nations share fairly in benefits from natural resource development.

    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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