OPINION: Can Hudson Bay and James Bay territory be saved before it’s too late? – by Tanya Talaga (Globe and Mail – April 5, 2024)


Something hopeful is stirring among the Omushkego communities in Northern Ontario. The communities, along with Fort Severn and Weenusk First Nations, have hatched a plan to save one of the last vast, untouched areas of the planet from an industry quickly advancing northward to mine critical minerals, blasting through ecologically sensitive areas to do so. They know all too well how hard it is to stop the hungry mouths of the South, with their insatiable need for the resources of the North.

It’s a reflection of the weird contradiction in which the world finds itself: In order to cool a warming planet, the argument goes, we have to mine the Earth for critical minerals to make electric vehicles that will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, destroying the peatlands of the far North – giant storehouses for an estimated 35 billion tonnes of carbon – in the process.

But the Omushkego plan offers an Indigenous-led way forward that would see communities work with industry, allies and government partners to ensure any development is done in keeping with Indigenous knowledge.

The plan is to establish the Mushkegowuk National Marine Conservation Area, which would be led by folks in the Cree communities of the western James Bay coast along with Fort Severn and Weenusk First Nations.

For the rest of this column: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-can-hudson-bay-and-james-bay-territory-be-saved-before-its-too-late/