This week, ten communities from Treaty 9 territory launched a lawsuit which calls into question the language of Treat 9 and how it was understood by First Nations communities when it was first agreed to in the early 1900s. In particular, the claimants argue that federal and provincial resource extraction laws are not valid on their territories and that they never relinquished their rights to manage land. They are calling for a co-jurisdiction scheme whereby the province and Canada cannot move forward with projects on their land without First Nations approval. According to the lawyer for the claimants, this case could result in court injunctions that may stall Ring of Fire development plans if the Ontario and Canadian governments fail to change how they consult with Treaty 9 First Nations.
April 27, 2023 (CBC):
First Nations leaders in Treaty 9 say their message is clear — no development without us as partners
Chiefs from 10 communities in the region launch lawsuit, arguing Crown can’t make unilateral land decisions
First Nations leaders in northern Ontario are ramping up political pressure on the provincial and federal governments, warning Wednesday that the only way mining projects can proceed in the mineral-rich Ring of Fire is with their participation as full partners.
Chiefs from 10 Treaty 9 communities announced at Queen’s Park that they are launching a lawsuit to fundamentally change the way resource and land management decisions are made in the region.
“Though the lawsuit deals with language and the understanding of a treaty signed in the early 1900s, the lawyer for the First Nations, Kate Kempton, says the case has major implications for land decisions happening in the Ring of Fire right now.” Read more here…
April 26, 2023 (Globe and Mail):
Indigenous groups file lawsuit saying they have a say over what happens on their lands, including resource projects
“A group of First Nations from Northern Ontario has filed a lawsuit against the province and Canada, asserting that they never gave up any rights to govern their own territories through its treaty agreement with the Crown, and that they will not allow any decisions about their lands to be made without their full consultation and consent, including resource projects.” Read more here…
April 26, 2023 (Timmins Today):
Some Treaty 9 communities to launch legal actions against feds, province
They claim the treaty was signed as a co-jurisdiction agreement, which would maintain First Nations decision-making governance over the lands and resources
“Ten Treaty 9 communities are intending to take legal action against the federal and provincial governments, challenging what they call the senior levels of government’s “purported unilateral jurisdiction and decision-making control” throughout the territory.
The communities — Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, Neskantaga, Eabametoong, Ginoogaming, Aroland, Constance Lake, Kashechewan, Attawapiskatt, Apitipi Anicinapek Nation and Fort Albany — announced their plans to initiate the legal claim at a press conference in Toronto on Wednesday.” Read more here…
April 26, 2023 (The Narwhal):
10 First Nations sue Ontario and Canada over resource extraction and broken Treaty 9 promises
Arguing that resource extraction has violated Indigenous jurisdiction for over a century, the case could stall the Ontario government’s plans to mine the Ring of Fire
“The nations are asking a court to find that a long list of federal and provincial laws related to resource extraction are not valid on their territories — and to bar Canadian governments from making any further decisions about how land there could be used without Indigenous consent. If successful, the case could have massive implications for the Ontario government’s plans to jumpstart mining in the north, particularly in the Ring of Fire region, to dig up raw materials for technology like electric vehicles.
‘We are putting Ontario and Canada on notice,” Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug Chief Donny Morris said in a statement.'” Read more here…