The focus in the news this week revolves around a January 19 letter to federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault from five chiefs from Attawapiskat, Fort Albany, Neskantaga, Kashechewan and Eabametoong First Nations. The letter called on the government to scrap its current proposal for a Regional Impact Assessment (RIA), which, it states, is narrow in scope and ‘wrongly excludes us Indigenous peoples from all but token roles.”
The letter also indicates that if the government fails to respond to their concerns, they will enforce their April 2021 moratorium on Ring of Fire development. In response to the letter, Minister Guilbeault indicated that the Ministry is “considering next steps” and has extended the deadline for the feedback on the proposed terms of reference for the RIA to March 2.
January 20, 2022 (Soo Today):
First Nations chiefs concerned with Ring of Fire process
Letter sent to government says draft terms of reference ‘wrongly excludes us Indigenous peoples from all but token roles’
“As Canada and Ontario discuss a potential agreement on how the regional assessment will be done in the Ring of Fire area, First Nations chiefs are calling to be equally consulted and included in the process.” Read more here…
January 20, 2022 (APTN National News):
Chiefs say feds taking ‘harmful and dishonourable’ course on Ring of Fire environmental assessment
Legal action is possible if First Nations’ concerns go unaddressed says Chief Gaius Wesley on N2N
“A federally led assessment of mining’s potential environmental impact on the Ring of Fire region hasn’t moved beyond draft terms of reference but a handful of chiefs say it’s already being bungled.
Leaders from five Treaty 9 communities in Northern Ontario say the framework is narrow, tokenistic, risks exacerbating the climate crisis and runs roughshod over Indigenous sovereignty.” Read more here…
January 24, 2022 (Timmins Today):
Minister ‘considering next steps’ for Ring of Fire assessment
Deadline to review the draft agreement, provide feedback extended to March 2
“Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault is considering “next steps” in response to the joint letter sent by First Nations chiefs last week, according to a federal government spokesperson…
‘“The Government of Canada recognizes the need for meaningful consultation and engagement with Indigenous peoples throughout the implementation of the Impact Assessment Act,” Karen Fish, Impact Assessment Agency of Canada spokesperson, said in an email. “The Minister would like to thank the Indigenous Chiefs for their letter and is considering next steps.'” Read more here…