AFN urges Ontario to take immediate action to resolve KI Dispute

 

AFN urges Ontario to take immediate action to resolve KI Dispute

 

Copyright © 2009 Canada NewsWire Ltd. All rights reserved.

 

OTTAWA, Aug. 31 /CNW/ — OTTAWA, Aug. 31 /CNW Telbec/ – Today, National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo called on the province of Ontario to take immediate action to resolve the ongoing dispute between the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation and the exploration company, Platinex.

 

"A number of courts cases have already determined that there is a duty to consult First Nations prior to development on their traditional territory. The Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation want to complete a land use plan before they consider whether or not mining should take place. This is an entirely reasonable and responsible request," said National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo.

 

The National Chief urged Ontario to consult with the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation on the land use plan and suggested the province could cancel mining permits until the plan is complete.

 

Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug Councillor Sam Mckay expressed disappointment that Ontario has filed a notice of motion rather than negotiate with the community.

 

"We have no funding to fight procedural cases that do not address our Aboriginal and Treaty rights. This is a matter that would be best resolved through negotiation rather than litigation," said Councillor Sam McKay.

 

"We would also like to see Platinex take a fresh approach to this issue. A number of other mining and resource companies have worked in partnership with First Nations and developed mutually beneficial economic development plans. Platinex can learn from these success stories," said Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse.

 

Six members of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, commonly referred to as the KI-6, were sentenced to six months in jail in March 2008 for a December 2007 civil contempt of court conviction after they refused to allow Platinex to begin drilling on their traditional lands. Plantinex wants to resume exploration on the property south of the community under the authority of a 2007 court order.

 

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada .