First Nations won’t be excluded from critical minerals ‘gold rush,’ say leaders – by Jason Warick (CBC News Saskatoon – July 13, 2023)

Sask. chief delivering message Friday in Washington to senior White House, corporate officials

Some are calling it Saskatchewan’s third “gold rush” — the frenzy to stake claims for lithium and other critical minerals. First Nations say they were pushed to the sidelines during previous waves of development and that won’t happen again. They’re set to deliver that message to a powerful international audience on Friday.

“We are willing partners, willing to do business. We aren’t the boogeyman,” Thunderchild First Nation Chief Delbert Wapass said. “But we won’t sit back. This new gold rush will not happen without us.”

Wapass is the only North American First Nations leader invited to a critical minerals roundtable Friday in Washington, D.C. Other participants include senior members of U.S. President Joe Biden’s council of economic advisors and the U.S. Department of Energy, as well as top executives from resource and electronics corporations.

Wapass comes from Treaty 6 territory, but he and others from the Saskatchewan First Nations Natural Resource Centre of Excellence have been working with chiefs on both side of the international border. Centre CEO Sheldon Wuttunee and his staff have spent months trying to get a clear picture of the critical mineral situation in Saskatchewan. They hope to help First Nations in other jurisdictions do the same.

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