Matawa chiefs push back against U.S. military agenda in the Ring of Fire – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – November 17, 2022)

First Nation leaders demand a big say over any industrial development on their James Bay homelands

Toronto media reports about talks between the U.S. military, mining interests and government about funding development in the Ring of Fire has angered Indigenous communities in Ontario’s Far North.

The leadership of the Matawa First Nations are asserting their sovereignty, rights and jurisdiction over their traditional territories in the mineral-rich James Bay region. Chiefs from across Ontario met this week at their fall assembly in Toronto and are lending their support.

In a news release, the Matawa Chiefs’ Council contend that while Queen’s Park, Ottawa and Washington are devising their “resource development agendas” to develop a domestic critical minerals supply chain for their strategic and national security interests, the rights and interests of the James Bay communities will not be ignored.

“The agenda must be First Nations-driven and not determined by government, industry and environmental interests only,” said Marten Falls Chief Bruce Achneepineskum in a statement. His community is one of two proponents of a road network into the remote area of the province.

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