Indigenous Leaders: Hans Matthews seeks common ground between industry, Indigenous communities – by Angela Gemmill (Timmins Today – August 2, 2023)

The head of the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association out to dispel industry myths, answer cultural questions

It was a rock collection of pyrite or fool’s gold that piqued Hans Matthews’ interest in geology as a child growing up in the Toronto area. While still in high school in Toronto he published his first scientific paper in the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences.

“I discovered a 13,000-year-old forest buried north of my house in a gravel pit,” Matthews said. Scientists became excited about the possibility of making other discoveries in that area. That curiosity turned into a 30-plus year career as a geologist for the member of the Anishinabek Nation. Matthews lives in Wahnapitae First Nation, outside Sudbury.

As president of the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association (CAMA), he helps facilitate dialogue and negotiate agreements between mining companies and Indigenous communities across the country. From high school, Matthews attended postsecondary school in southern Ontario and then took on a number of roles with mining companies.

He was in Arizona working in a senior position when the Oka Crisis made headlines in Canada in 1990. The issue of land title or whether Indigenous groups had prior right to lands was at the heart of the conflict.

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