Letter sent to government says draft terms of reference ‘wrongly excludes us Indigenous peoples from all but token roles’
As Canada and Ontario discuss a potential agreement on how the regional assessment will be done in the Ring of Fire area, First Nations chiefs are calling to be equally consulted and included in the process.
Wednesday, Jan. 19, Attawapiskat, Fort Albany, Neskantaga, Kashechewan and Eabametoong First Nations chiefs sent a joint letter to federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault.
According to the letter, the chiefs met virtually with Guilbeault on Jan. 17 and expressed concerns about the terms of reference (TOR) for the Regional Impact Assessment (RIA) in the carbon-rich peatlands known as the “Breathing Lands”.
“These are the world’s lungs, and rampant mining development could not only destroy this globally critical carbon sink but release its huge store of carbon and escalate climate change further into catastrophe,” reads the letter.