Ring of Fire Updates Weekly News Roundup

June 29 – July 5, 2021: Weekly News Roundup

This week, Marten Falls First Nation, which has been under a boil water advisory for over 20 years, announced that it would be joining Curve Lake First Nation and Neskantaga First Nation in a class action lawsuit against the federal government. Marten Falls is one of the two proponents leading the process of establishing community access roads that would both support their community and also make Noront’s Eagle’s Nest mine possible. Their press release highlighted the disparity between living on a mineral-rich territory coveted by mining companies while also living in poverty.

There are two objectives of the lawsuit (quoted directly from the press release):

  1. To obtain compensation for First Nations affected by drinking water advisories, and
  2. To obtain a declaration from Canada that it will work with First Nations to provide access to clean water, which includes requiring Canada to construct and fund water systems for communities.

Meanwhile, Ginoogaming First Nation, another Matawa community, is pursuing a different kind of legal action. Ginoogaming has applied for an injunction with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to stop mineral exploration on a sacred part of their traditional territory — Wiisinin Zaahgi’igan. If won, this case could set a new precedent in Canada, establishing the inherent and treaty right of First Nations to protect their sacred areas.

June 29, 2021 (Newswire):

Marten Falls First Nation joins class action litigation on drinking water advisory and calls on the government of Canada for critical housing and infrastructure appropriations

“Marten Falls First Nation has agreed to join the class-action litigation on drinking water advisories in First Nation communities, which will be led by Olthuis, Kleer, Townshend (OKT) LLP and McCarthy Tétrault LLP. Marten Falls has decided to participate in this class-action lawsuit because it has been under a boil water advisory for over 20 years. The lack of potable water in the community has resulted in illness, an unnecessary loss of opportunities amongst community members, and a burdensome distribution process.” Read more here…

June 29, 2021 (Northern Ontario Business):

Neglected Ring of Fire-area community taking Ottawa to court over 20-year boil water advisory

Road proponent Marten Falls First Nation joins national class action lawsuit over lack of potable water, calls for action on housing crisis

“A First Nation community supporter of mining development in the Ring of Fire still has to boil its drinking water after two decades. Marten Falls First Nation is joining a national class-action lawsuit against the federal government led by Olthuis, Kleer, Townshend LLP (OKT) and McCarthy Tétrault LLP.

In a June 29 news release, Marten Falls said despite its members living in mineral-rich lands coveted by mining companies, members in the community of 800 (half on reserve) still live in poverty; dealing with homelessness or overcrowded housing conditions, suffering from inadequate fire protection, enduring challenges associated with the water treatment plant, and a boil water advisory that’s lasted for more than 20 years. “This needs to change,” said the community in a release.” Read more here…

July 3, 2021 (CBC):

Legal battle brewing in northern Ontario over the protection of Indigenous sacred areas, mining rights

Province, prospectors argue First Nation didn’t fully participate in consultations

“As the mining industry heats up in northwestern Ontario, a First Nation in Treaty 9 territory has applied for an injunction to stop mineral exploration and protect a sacred area within their traditional territory. It’s a case that some say would set a precedent in Canada, establishing the inherent and treaty right of First Nations to protect sacred areas.

Ginoogaming First Nation considers Wiisinin Zaahgi’igan, an area of land roughly 360 square kilometres in size located about 300 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, its “breadbasket, its church, its heartland, its graveyard and its hospital,” according to documents filed by their lawyers.” Read more here…

%d bloggers like this: