First Nations gear up to fight Ottawa for shutting them out in coal-mine rulings – by Kelsey Rolfe (Financial Post – August 14, 2021)

First Nations are agnostic about coal — but are concerned about the implications for their right to self-determination

Carol Wildcat grew up in the shadow of Imperial Oil Ltd.’s Bonnie Glen oilfield operation on the Pigeon Lake reserve in Alberta.

In the roughly 40 years the site was in production, the company extracted billions of dollars worth of oil, and paid a fraction of that in royalties to the four Indigenous nations living near the operation. It’s something that didn’t sit right with Wildcat.

“We were passive royalty receivers. We never got the jobs, we never got small business developing here. Off reserve, other communities…build up when (resource projects are developed),” she said in an interview. “I’m not going to allow that to happen to us again.”

Today, Wildcat is in a position to build her community up. As the director of the industrial relations department for the Ermineskin Cree Nation, she negotiates impact benefit agreements with resource companies that are looking to operate on her nation’s traditional territory in central Alberta.

One of those impact benefit deals was with Coalspur Mines Ltd., the operator of the Vista thermal coal mine near Hinton, Alta., related to the mine’s expansion in 2019.

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