On March 26th, 2014 the Province of Ontario and Matawa-member First Nations took a first step in an historic, community-based negotiation process - signing a framework agreement to advance Ring of Fire mining resource opportunities, including regional long-term environmental monitoring and enhanced participation in environmental assessment processes, resource revenue sharing, economic supports, regional and community infrastructure for a potential $60 billion in resource wealth. We're proud of our role in this historic process around the Rinf of Fire and Aboriginal communities, and proud to have been able to attend the signing of the agreement. A link to the full media release is here: http://www.matawa.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Media-Release-March-26-2014.pdf
We've previously shared some of the work we've been doing for Matawa-member First Nations, including:
- helping shoot and produce the video "Grassroots’ Voices, Future Choices: Guiding Our Chief Negotiator" featuring community members from across all 9 Matawa-member First Nations giving direction to Bob Rae, their chief negotiator during spring and summer 2013.
- our work with Constance Lake First Nation to help move the community from a multi-year boil water advisory and contaminated water supply to being a primary innovator of groundwater technologies and solutions in Ontario, leading to the GroundSwell Conference on Groundwater Innovation featuring Alexandra Cousteau speaking on "Putting Watersheds First" at the University of Guelph, June 16-18, 2014
- our insights on Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Environmental Change, informed by our work with Aroland First Nation, Constance Lake First Nation and Neskantaga First Nation community members of all ages
Some quotes on this historic signing moment for Ontario and Matawa-member First Nations from the Chiefs of some of our client communities and their neighbours:
“This framework demonstrates that our First Nations are open for development that is sustainable and respects our lands.”
— Chief Sonny Gagnon, Aroland First Nation
“I want to thank all my First Nation members. We have worked really hard at the community level to get where we are today. I look forward to working with our chiefs and with Ontario as we move forward.”
— Chief Celia Echum, Ginoogaming First Nation
“I am so proud to stand with our nine chiefs and sign this regional framework today. My community members back home have been waiting a long time to have meaningful negotiations with Ontario. This is just the beginning.”
— Chief Fred Sackaney, Constance Lake First Nation
“I’m signing on behalf of Neskantaga First Nation and Chief Peter Moonias, who has worked very hard to move the regional framework forward. We are all very excited about the progress and are looking forward to working together for our children’s future.”
— Acting Chief Roy Moonias, Neskantaga First Nation
“The regional framework is not about selling our land, but sharing our land as our Elders envisioned for the benefit of all. Nibinamik First Nation understands the importance of balance between economic development that is required to ensure community growth and productivity and the need to sustain cultural values and beliefs particularly as related to the land.”
— Chief Johnny Yellowhead, Nibinamik First Nation
“This is a special and significant event and we are looking forward to an official celebration. The negotiations under this framework will complement the essential direct negotiations Webequie is having with the Province of Ontario on a range of issues related to the Ring of Fire. Success in both of these negotiations will chart a course for a different future for all of us. It is now time for the real work to begin and we look forward to working with Ontario and our fellow First Nations.
— Chief Cornelius Wabasse, Webequie First Nation
“Our community members, both on and off reserve, will be very engaged in this process. Our neighbours in Greenstone and the entire northern Ontario region should be pleased that we now have a process. This is a milestone for everyone in Ontario.”
— Chief Allen Towegishig, Long Lake #58 First Nation
“Eabametoong is a large First Nation and we have worked very hard to get here. Our community is hopeful about the future now that we can move forward on resource development discussions with the province.”
— Chief Elizabeth Atlookan, Eabametoong First Nation
“I’ve seen many framework type processes come and go, and MOUs, and some have had beneficial results but many have not gone anywhere. I am optimistic that this regional framework allows us to be more involved in development and the decision-making that is going to happen. I am assured the regional framework will enhance and not supersede our community-based MOU signed in September 2012. We are working to set the course to move our First Nations away from dependence so that we can capture the maximum benefits and move towards community wellness and increase ambition for our people.”
— Chief Elijah K. Moonias, Marten Falls First Nation
The Ring of Fire and First Nations are inseparable. Seeing the Ring of Fire and Aboriginal Interests together is key to understanding this mining development.
At Shared Value Solutions Ltd. we bring the best environmental peer review, strategic advice, community engagement and traditional knowledge, land use, and socio-economic research expertise to address your challenges and opportunities.