No April Fool’s joke, three First Nation communities say they’ll go to court over the Ring of Fire – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – April 5, 2021)

Indigenous communities claim they were misled by Ottawa on regional assessment, demand a shutdown of all mining-related development work

Three First Nations in Ontario’s remote north are declaring a moratorium on development in the Ring of Fire, and are threatening legal action to preserve their lands and rights.

The far-flung communities of Attawapiskat, Fort Albany and Neskantaga First Nations want a greater say on the size and scope of Ottawa’s regional assessment process, and how mining in the James Bay lowlands could impact the environment and their way of life.

In an April 1 news release, the three First Nations said their lands and rights “stand to be seriously and permanently desecrated by massive scale mining” in the isolated, high-grade mineral belt, some 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay.

The communities are calling Ottawa’s Regional Assessment process “political puffery,” that’s too narrow in focus and offers only “token” involvement by area First Nations. They call the government’s study “window dressing” and a “box-ticking exercise” that puts First Nations on the margins of the process.

“The risks are too great to allow the Crown to steamroll over our Mother Earth, our rights and our future,” the press release said.

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