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Northern Ontario chiefs demand meeting with premier about mining activity

Land Defence Alliance announces plans to demand Premier Doug Ford declare an end to mining activity on traditional territory that is not supported by First Nations
Neskantaga First Nation Chief Chris Moonias speaks at a rally in Toronto in July. (Jessica Smith Cross/The Trillium photo)

A group of four First Nations chiefs plans to demand Premier Doug Ford sign a declaration committing to end mining activity on traditional lands that happens without their consent.

A statement issued this week by the Land Defence Alliance — which is made up of Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation (Grassy Narrows), Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (Big Trout Lake First Nation), Wapekeka First Nation and Neskantaga First Nation — publicly invites Ford to a sit-down meeting outside the provincial legislature next week.

“We are deeply concerned about encroachment by the mining industry on our Homelands which you and your government have encouraged against our will. You want to open up our Homelands to mining, but you won’t meet with us. You won’t even look us in the eye,” wrote the four chiefs in the statement.

The chiefs said they will hold a meeting, with a chair reserved for the premier, on the lawn of Queen's Park on the afternoon of Sept. 26. They said they'll have a document for Ford to sign, which would include a declaration giving the First Nations the right to say no to any mining activity on their lands. 

The next day — on Sept. 27 — hundreds of members of the First Nation are expected to travel to Toronto for a march calling on the government to respect the rights of First Nations who want to protect their lands.

First Nations leaders had also held demonstrations at Queen's Park earlier this summer.

Clint Fleury

About the Author: Clint Fleury

Clint Fleury is a web reporter covering Northwestern Ontario and the Superior North regions.
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