Staking rush puts northwest Indigenous communities on the defensive – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – February 2, 2023)

Four First Nations call for an end to free entry prospecting in Ontario

Four Indigenous communities in northwestern Ontario and the Far North are forming a “land defence alliance” to stop an “incursion” by prospectors and exploration companies on their traditional lands.

Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), Wapakeka, Neskantaga and Asubpeesschoseewagong Anishnabek (Grassy Narrows) signed a Mutual Cooperation Agreement, Jan. 31, to protect their collective lands and waters. It’s response to “mounting concerns about encroachment” by the mining industry.

The leadership are pinning the blame on Premier Doug Ford who, they say, has ignored their demands to abolish the free entry system and has encouraged a staking rush with “thousands of new claims” in their traditional territories since 2018.

The First Nations leadership were not available for an interview but in a news release they said a bone of contention is that prospectors aren’t required to give notice to nearby First Nations until after the claim has been registered in the province’s online claim staking system.

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