Grand Council Treaty #3 – Office of the Ogichidaakwe
Kenora – March 30, 2012
Earlier this week, the Globe and Mail reported on a meeting of a group of junior mining companies who have met under the name “Miners United.” In the March 27, 2012 newspaper account a “revolt” by the group was said to be happening because of First Nations’ requests for Resource Benefit Sharing, compensation for loss of Treaty Harvesting Areas, and capacity building.
“We agree that the Crown must do more than what is now being proposed within the Mining Act regime,” said Treaty #3 Ogichidaakwe (Grand Chief) Diane Kelly. In responding to the article, Kelly added, “we disagree strongly with the ‘hard-line’ tactics discussed at the Miners United forum.”
She added that the Grand Council Treaty #3 Chiefs-in-Assembly found the comments in the article to be totally unacceptable by depicting community leaders as greedy and money-hungry. “We see ourselves as protectors of the land,” she said.
In many instances, Treaty #3 communities have developed strong partnerships with mining companies because of the early commitment of companies to talk with us, build our capacity to understand the projects and the real impacts and potential benefits,” Kelly said. “All of this is in the spirit of our law, Manito Aki Inakonigaawin. This process defines consultation that reaches our members, and enables our leaders to make fully informed decisions about projects in our rich, but sensitive territory.”
“Gold was an important part of the negotiations in Treaty #3 in 1873,” advised Kelly, who has been Grand Chief of Treaty #3 for almost four years. “Grand Council Treaty #3 has been proactive in defining a process that is better suited to create a more certain climate for constitutionally sound practices by the Crown and proponents of developments. The Miners United statements are hurtful and full of stereotypes regarding First Nations communities. We were surprised that the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines was present at his meeting.
Our strong hope within Treaty #3 is that we deal with each other in our territory as our Treaty envisioned it where the Crown would be a truly neutral arbitrator of our entrusted Treaty and Harvesting Areas, and put measures in place to recognize that sacred and ceremonial sites are more important than staked claims. A recent Court (the Keewatin) decision that is now in front of the Court of Appeal will hopefully instruct Ontario how to do this better. We at the Grand Council know that industry is on notice and that much more has to be done to create true partnerships in mineral development in Treaty #3 territory.”
For more information contact: Jazmin Lynch, Political Office Assistant
Telephone: (807) 548-4214
Grand Council Treaty #3 Website: http://www.treaty3.ca