First Nation calls mining stakes ‘unlawful, invalid’ as it challenges Ontario’s free-entry system – by Sarah Law (CBC News Thunder Bay – August 3, 2023)

Chief warns of legal action if community’s concerns aren’t addressed by province, Ottawa

A First Nation in northwestern Ontario has issued a public notice to warn mining prospectors away from its traditional territory, and says the province’s free mine staking system is putting a potential treaty settlement at risk.

The notice by Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek (KZA), also known as Gull Bay First Nation, says it opposes recent mining claims made in its vicinity, and will “take all measures necessary to ensure that our interests in these lands are respected and protected,” which could include legal action. Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek is an Anishinaabe community situated on the western shores of Lake Nipigon, about 175 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, and has about 1,500 members.

The First Nation has an outstanding land claim against Ontario and Canada about the expanse of its reserve, Gull River 55, and is in the land selection process to expand it by eight to 10 times its current size. This would help recover lands promised in the Robinson-Superior Treaty of 1850.

But Chief Wilfred King said the influx of mining claims may prevent this from happening. “Gull Bay would not be able to access these lands anymore for [the] reserve, even though they’re within three kilometres of our existing boundary,” said King. “How can you extend your boundary when these lands are already taken up by mining claims?”

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