Indigenous leaders rebuff minister, again demand meeting with premier on mining agenda – Aidan Chamandy (The Trillium – September 26, 2023)

The Land Defence Alliance shot down an offer to meet with Indigenous Affairs Minister Greg Rickford last week

Indigenous leaders from the Land Defence Alliance came to Queen’s Park on Tuesday to keep pressuring the premier to meet with them on the government’s mining policies — including the marquee Ring of Fire project — after rejecting a meeting with Indigenous Affairs and Northern Development Minister Greg Rickford.

The Alliance is made up of five First Nations communities — Neskantaga, Muskrat Dam First Nations, Wapekeka, Asubpeeschoseewagong Anishinabek (Grassy Narrows), and Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (Big Trout Lake).

The Nations are in varying degrees of opposition to mining and other forms of resource development. Some are totally opposed, while others are looking for better consultation processes, they said. The group wrote to Ford last week but the premier “tried to pass the buck” — according to a press release — and offered a meeting with Rickford instead.

“We don’t want to meet with Rickford. We want to meet with Ford,” said Grassy Narrows Chief Rudy Turtle. “Ford sets the policies for his government. He’s the one that’s been saying he wants to proceed with the Ring of Fire and other mining activities.”

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