Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Non-Mining Issues

Why the B.C. First Nation with the most on the line is going to bat for Trans Mountain – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – April 27, 2018)

http://business.financialpost.com/

Chief Nathan Matthew of the Simpcw First Nation in British Columbia has had enough that no one in government, the green lobby, or among First Nations opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has ever talked to him about why his community stands behind the project.

The 700-member Simpcw First Nation is one of 33 bands in B.C. that want the $7.4 billion expansion to go ahead. Another 10 bands in Alberta also support the project.

Yet the Simpcw have more on the line than the vast majority of those who have an opinion. One third of the pipeline traverses its traditional lands in the B.C. interior, stretching from Jasper to Barriere, which means it has the greatest land exposure to the project. Continue Reading →

The hunt Canada loves: Why seal clubbing will never die – by Tristin Hopper (National Post – April 4, 2018)

Angry Inuk: The anti-sealing industry has had dire impacts on Canada’s Inuit families – CBC Docs POV

http://nationalpost.com/

Hunting seals may ignite outrage abroad, but it is one of the few issues supported by virtually every Canadian MP, regardless of region or party

It’s sealing season once again in Canada. This means that, once again, activists are out in strength to decry Canadians as baby-killers and, in some cases, ISIS. And on Tuesday, Canada’s strained relationship with India got just a bit worse when India banned the import of seal skins (although, for obvious reasons, they were never a major seal skin market).

Below, a quick guide to the one of the world’s most embattled hunts. What’s true, what’s a myth and why Canadians will never, ever stop doing this.

‘Subsistence’ exemptions for Inuit are meaningless Continue Reading →

Data reveals close to 600 suicides in northern Ontario since the mid-1980s – by Martha Troian (APTN News.ca – March 27, 2018)

http://aptnnews.ca/

Brian Rae remembers his nephew, Dario Strang, as someone who was smart and did well in school. Rae thought Strang had a bright future ahead of him. But on June 8, 2009 everything changed.

After visiting a family member from Sioux Lookout, Ont., Strang returned to his home in Pikangikum First Nation and lost his life to suicide. He was just 18 years old. “He was a young man, he had everything going for him at that time,” says Brian Rae, originally from Sandy Lake First Nation, from his home in Sioux Lookout.

“He was in school. He had aspirations of going into the army. He was already accepted to go into the Bold Eagle Program.” The Bold Eagle Program is a summer military program for Indigenous youth. Continue Reading →

[DeBeers Greenhouse] Writer raising funds to build greenhouse in Attawapiskat – by Emma Meldrum (Timmins Daily Press – February 14, 2018)

http://www.timminspress.com/

TIMMINS – It’s far from a done deal, but if David Franks has his way, a greenhouse will be built in Attawapiskat First Nation thanks to the proceeds of his book.

Published late last year, 30 Days in Attawapiskat details “the observations and impressions of a once-proud, yet blissfully ignorant Canadian writer who spent a month on the fly-in First Nation reserve,” according to the description on Amazon. Half of net profits from that book will be used to design and build a community greenhouse on the reserve.

Franks was recently back in the community to talk to Chief Ignace Gull. The meeting left the writer “kind of stymied at the moment for where we can build this.” Gull told The Daily Press there simply isn’t space. “We don’t have space in the community for other buildings or structures. Everything has been designated for our housing project,” said the chief. Nearby Potato Island is an option. Continue Reading →

Goldcorp re-submits rejected application to build Yukon mine – by Dave Croft (CBC News North – January 17, 2018)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/

Project manager believes company has done everything it can to ensure application makes it through process

Mining giant Goldcorp has re-submitted its massive application for environmental permitting to build a gold mine 130 kilometres south of Dawson City, Yukon. The original proposal was filed last March and rejected by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB) a few months later.

YESAB found the application inadequate because Goldcorp had not properly consulted four potentially affected First Nations.

The re-submitted application — a document of more than 20,000 pages — says that since then, the company has been meeting with the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Selkirk, Na-Cho Nyak Dun and White River First Nations. Continue Reading →

Excitement is hard to share, mines chamber says – by Chuck Tobin (Whitehorse Star – December 4, 2017)

http://www.whitehorsestar.com/

Yukoners should pay close attention as land use planning goes forward in the future, says the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. With Friday’s Supreme Court of Canada decision, the amount of land unavailable to pursue mineral exploration in the territory is now up over 50 per cent, he pointed out.

Samson Hartland said today the mining industry is very competitive around the world, and investment dollars are already tight to come by. The Yukon needs to be careful it doesn’t push itself out of that marketplace by closing the door on the industry, he suggested during an interview.

He said with several more regional land use plans still to be hashed out – Dawson City, Mayo, Whitehorse, Teslin – it’s certain there will be more land withdrawals. Land withdrawals, Hartland said, are the number one concern for the mining sector, and the industry pays attention to them. Continue Reading →

AUDIO: Ontario’s far north one step closer to building all-season road (CBC News Sudbury – September 17, 2017)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/

Project becoming more urgent as winter road season becomes shorter every year

Plans to build an all-season road to the James Bay Coast in northern Ontario are moving forward with a feasibility study. It will examine information gathered from community consultations, environmental data and refine cost estimates, which have been pegged between $500 to $700 million.

“We’re no longer going to be isolated,” Mushkegowuk Council Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon said. “You’re going to see forestry. You’re going to see resource development. Companies coming into your territory.” Solomon adds that he hopes a permanent road will ease the cost of living.

“For instance, back home I was in my own community of Kashechewan this week and my wife went to the store to pick up a slab of bacon,” Solomon said. “She paid $17 for that … where they’re selling $3 or $4 in Timmins.” Continue Reading →

First Nations-owned company receives ‘up to $60M’ to connect Pikangikum to Ontario power grid (CBC News Thunder Bay – August 17, 2017)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/

Canada’s Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs says the federal government has pledged “up to $60 million,” for a long-awaited power project in Ontario’s far north.

Carolyn Bennett announced in Thunder Bay on Thursday that Wataynikaneyap Power — a transmission company owned by 22 First Nations in partnership with Fortis, a Canadian utility — will receive the money to connect Pikangikum to the province’s electricity grid.

The announcement, which sets the stage for work to be done to ensure a reliable flow of electricity to the community, is “thrilling,” Chief Dean Owen said. “The community will just be jubilant about it now, and now we can move forward,” he said. Construction on a 117 kilometre-long power line from Red Lake to Pikangikum is scheduled to begin in October, 2017, according to officials with Watay Power, with an estimated completion date of November, 2018. Continue Reading →

Far northern Ontario provincial ridings to be doubled (CBC News Sudbury – August 8, 2017)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/

Legislature to vote this fall to split current two electoral ridings into four in time for 2018 election

The Ontario legislature will vote this fall on adding two more ridings to the province. Over the spring months, an electoral boundaries commission traveled across northern Ontario seeking feedback from residents.

The panel was tasked with finding a way to better represent the Far North region at Queen’s Park. That region is currently divided into two ridings: Kenora-Rainy River and Timmins James Bay. In its final report published Tuesday, the commission recommends doubling the number of ridings to four.

The other ridings to be created would be Kiiwetinoong in the northwest, and Mushkegowuk in the northeast. Kiiwetinoong would be a mostly Indigenous riding, while Mushkegowuk would be mostly Francophone. Continue Reading →

Ontario Liberals’ plan for two new ridings could violate the Charter and cost PCs the election – by Josh Dehaas (National Post – August 8, 2017)

http://nationalpost.com/

Josh Dehaas is a Toronto-based freelance writer.

Ontario’s Liberal government will soon consider a proposal to add two new seats in northern Ontario. If you live in the south of the province, that should worry you. Your vote would count for less and your Charter rights might be violated. If you’re a Progressive Conservative, it could cost your party the election.

The Liberals set up the Far North Electoral Boundaries Commission in May and asked them to fly around the north consulting on whether to add one or two seats to the electoral map in northern Ontario. The stated goal is to create what Attorney General Yasir Naqvi called “predominantly Indigenous” ridings.

The commission came back with their interim report last month and it states—surprise, surprise—that northerners would prefer adding two new ridings, instead of just one. While the public won’t see the final report until Naqvi makes it public, the plan put forward in the interim report is to chop two huge, far north districts into four, creating four new seats.  Two of the seats (Mushkegowuk and Kiiwetinong) would be majority-Indigenous, and one (Timmins) would be about 40 per cent Francophone. Continue Reading →

Globe editorial: The unspoken problem in Pikangikum (Globe and Mail – July 26, 2017)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

“There’s no doubt in my mind,” Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins said last week of the First Nations community of Pikangikum, “that it’s a community in crisis.” With all due respect to Dr. Hoskins, it would require willful blindness to arrive at any other conclusion.

Pikangikum, a remote Ojibwa community of about 2,800 in northwestern Ontario, has been in a state of crisis for decades. In 2000, a British sociologist calculated that it had the world’s highest suicide rate, at 213 suicides per 100,000 people.

In 2012, Maclean’s magazine famously dubbed it “the suicide capital of the world,” after the rate reached 250 per 100,000 people. Many more have died by suicide since then, the latest being four youths this month, including two 12-year-olds. Continue Reading →

Globe editorial: After 150 years, Canada’s Indigenous citizens are finally being heard (Globe and Mail – June 30, 2017)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

It’s not surprising, then, that as the country marks the 150th anniversary
of Confederation, there is a widespread sense that any celebration of one
of the most successful societies in the world must be tempered by the conscious
acknowledgment that the rise of the nation created in 1867 has gone hand
in hand with state-enforced maltreatment of the people who were here first.

Fifty years ago, at Expo 67 in Montreal, the “Indians of Canada” pavilion was meant to be one more tribute to Canada’s accomplishments as a young, modern nation.

Overseen by federal bureaucrats, the exhibit featured a giant, stylized teepee at its centre. Native art murals dominated the exterior walls; a totem pole stood at the entrance. It felt familiar and safe to white Canadians. In Ottawa’s mind, it would highlight the success of the government’s long-standing policy of assimilation of “the Indian.”

Like those policies, it didn’t work out as expected. By some cosmic miscalculation, the feds allowed Indigenous Canadians to have a say in the content of “their” pavilion. And they wanted to tell a very different story. As a result, four million visitors saw the usual arrows and ceremonial headdresses, and photos of smiling Indigenous people working as loggers and miners. Continue Reading →

Facile ‘Canada 150’ celebration deserves to be disrupted – by Chris Selley (National Post – June 30, 2017)

http://nationalpost.com/

It is a common refrain: for heaven’s sake, move on. A few moments’ thought ought
to reveal how simplistic it is. You can’t steal a generation of children from their
parents and expect the effects to wear off in half a century. But what the hell:
in keeping with Canada 150’s allergy to history, let’s focus on the present.

Trudeau’s Liberals talked an awfully big game about getting to work on it. Its
bite has already proven weaker than its bark. Trudeau promised to eliminate
boil-water advisories on First Nations reserves within five years. That won’t
even come close to happening.

The government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars fighting a human
rights tribunal order to fund First Nations child services equitably; in
opposition, the Liberals would have screamed bloody murder about that.

On Wednesday evening, indigenous protesters marched on to Parliament Hill and, after some back and forth with the local constabulary, erected a large white tepee. The group’s leaders told reporters they intended to “reoccupy” “unceded Algonquin territory,” and remind Canadians that “reconciliation” with the people who were here before them lies far down a bumpy road.

If nothing else, it was a welcome moment of coherence: big white tepee, Parliament Hill, three days before Canada Day — no one is going to wonder what that’s about. By contrast, I’m not sure what “Canada 150,” the officially branded and hash-tagged celebration of this country’s existence, is supposed to be. Continue Reading →

Diamonds are not forever: Indigenous communities grapple with end of the mining boom – by Michael West and Suzanne Smith (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – June 27, 2017)

http://www.abc.net.au/

As Australia’s resources boom wanes, several Indigenous communities that were once promised prosperity have been left grappling with a legacy of endemic poverty and questions about how mining money has been spent.

For the traditional land owners around the township of Kununurra in the remote north of Western Australia, diamonds have not been their best friends. The nearby Argyle diamond mine is three years from closure, and a royalties fund designed to ensure the community’s future is severely depleted.

Nestled among the scenic ranges of the Kimberley, Kununurra is blessed by an abundance of fresh water, the arable plains of the Ord River to the north-west and the Rio Tinto diamond mine to the south. The Indigenous Land Use Agreement that traditional owners negotiated with Argyle between 2003 and 2005 was held up as an example of best practice across the country. Continue Reading →

Indigenous law banishes a giant B.C. mine – by Elizabeth McSheffrey (National Observer – April 21, 2017)

http://www.nationalobserver.com/

The moment you step onto Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc land in southern British Columbia, according to Chief Ron Ignace, you are a beggar. As an outsider, you have no rights and you’ve strayed away from your home and family. You are considered a poor person, he tells National Observer, and you are beholden to the First Nations on whose territory you stand.

His message takes aim at anyone who wants to do business or travel on his nation’s land, be they tourists, government, companies, fishers, or boaters.

“The days of colonial authoritarianism are over,” he says. “It’s time for Canada to recognize that we are nations, as nations we have rights to our land, and if we are approached honourably, we can sit down and come to a fair and just conclusion.” Continue Reading →