Ontario playing favourites with First Nations on Ring of Fire, say chiefs – by Jorge Barrera (CBC News Indigenous – November 23, 2018)


“How can we stop young people’s ambitions … for a better life if we don’t start
taking steps to making the economic opportunities that lie there at the Ring of Fire?”
said Achneepineskum. “We have to create hope.” (Marten Falls Chief Bruce Achneepineskum.)

Bob Rae memos warned Matawa First Nations that Ford government would change talks on Ring of Fire

Shortly before the 2018 Ontario election, Bob Rae sent a memo warning the nine Matawa First Nations chiefs to resolve internal differences or face the collapse of collective negotiations to develop the mineral rich zone in the James Bay lowlands known as the Ring of Fire.

Rae, the tribal council’s lead negotiator, said the next provincial government would likely abandon the main negotiating table created by a landmark 2014 regional framework agreement. “[Ford] has not said anything positive about engaging First Nations in any processes only that he would ‘drive the bulldozer himself’ to get road construction started,” wrote Rae in the memo.

Rae said in the memo the new government would likely favour striking deals with individual member First Nations to get a road built into the chromite, gold and vanadium-rich region which has an estimated value of about $60 billion. Rae turned down a request for comment from CBC News.

Rae’s words to the Matawa First Nations — whose territories are closest to the Ring of Fire — proved prescient. The future of the framework agreement, signed with much fanfare in 2014 by former premier Kathleen Wynne and the Matawa First Nations, now lies in question after the Ford government chose not to renew its funding.

And the first phase of a road that could eventually reach the the Ring of Fire is about to enter an environmental assessment.

‘We have to create hope’

One of Matawa’s members, Marten Falls First Nation, is moving ahead with a 138 to 231 km gravel road project that will connect it to the province’s highway network at Nakina, Ont. It has selected an engineering firm to lead the environmental assessment which could take two years to complete.

For the rest of this article: https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/ontario-ring-of-fire-mining-matawa-first-nations-1.4917040

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