NAN supports efforts of walkers from Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug

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THUNDER BAY, ON, May 23 /CNW/ — THUNDER BAY, ON, May 23 /CNW/ – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) – a political organization representing 49 First Nation communities across two thirds of Ontario – supports the efforts of four walkers from Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug on their journey from Pickle Lake, ON to Queen's Park, Toronto, ON to raise awareness of ongoing mining disputes in their traditional territory.

 

"The Government of Ontario has failed to implement consultation policies specifically outlined by the Supreme Court, while mining companies continue to explore and drill on traditional lands within James Bay Treaty 9 territory," said NAN Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler.

 

Despite a community declared moratorium on resource development (October 2005) and Supreme Court of Canada rulings to consult and accommodate with First Nations prior to resource development, Platinex mining company received permission from the Government of Ontario to start drilling on Kitchnuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) traditional territory February 2006.

 

The group of walkers – all from KI – are hoping to raise awareness of the failure of the Government of Ontario to update the Mining Act to include recent Supreme Court rulings, including Mikisew (November 2005), that resulted in a $10 billion lawsuit against KI for protecting traditional territory during a peaceful protest that stopped Platinex mining early March 2006.

 

Mark T. Anderson, Darryl Sainnawap, Wallace Mosquito, and Dylan Morris began their journey to Queen's Park in Pickle Lake, ON May 9, 2006. The group that walks between 50 and 70km per day travelled through Thunder Bay May 21st and are currently in the Nipigon area. They expect to reach Toronto by June 21st – National Aboriginal Day – to bring their message to the Ontario Legislature.

 

"We want our children and grandchildren to continue to use the lands and resources to pursue their usual vocations of hunting, trapping, and fishing," said Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug community member Mark T. Anderson who's leading the group to Toronto. "We want to protect the environment at the potential drilling/mining site plus the surrounding area which includes our Kitchnuhmaykoosib Lake."

 

The $10 billion damage claim by Platinex is the largest ever against a First Nation and would take KI 200 years to pay. The case will be heard in Thunder Bay June 22, 2006.

 

Platinex is hosting their Annual General Meeting at the Howard Johnson Hotel in Aurora, ON Wednesday May 24, 2006 at 11:00 a.m.