STORY about INDIGENOUS ENVIRONMENT posted on DECEMBER 15, 2011 by MARYAM
That and $25.50 grants you the right to drill
Yes! I am 18.
Under the Ontario Mining Act, apparently being 18 and having $25.50 to send to the provincial government is all I need to stake a claim on Crown land in Ontario.
Then take the following steps:
1. Fill out an application to gain a prospector`s licence. Send it in with $25.50 (don't worry, they accept all major credit cards, money orders and cheques, as well as cash and debit card if you pay in person)
2. Fill out an application for a client number.
3. Once you have both of these–stake your claim.
If you feel like you do not really know how to stake a claim. Just read the A Guide To Staking Mining Claims which you can find on the Ontario provincial government`s website.
If you want more information you can google "Staking A Claim in Ontario" or "How to Colonize 101." I also wonder if it comes up under "Land Grabs 101." Not sure–but try it and let me know.
Ontario makes it easy to get a prospector's licence, a client number, or stake a claim, but protecting land and respecting Indigenous sovereignty is surprisingly difficult.
Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), a First Nations community in Northern Ontario, is being threatened by mining and exploration by God`s Lake Resources, Inc., a Toronto-based mining company, and the provincial government says it can do nothing to stop it due to current legislation. Ironically, it is this same government which administers the Ontario Mining Act and runs the website from which I received all the aforementioned information.
In 2008, KI fought to keep Platinex from exploring on their territory. They ran letter-writing and petition campaigns to blockades and sleep-overs on Queen's Park to demand an end to mining exploration. They were successful in stopping exploration, but in doing so, the chief and 5 other community members were put in jail for six months for defending their territory. I wonder when the last time the mayor of a non-indigenous municipality was put in jail for defending the people in their constituencey. If you can remember when that happened–please put in the comments section. I think I am drawing a blank.
And what about my prospector's claim? When I receive my claim, the provincial government has just granted me the right to prospect on "Crown" land. I wonder if my "concern" is similar to the one that lead to the Ontario government to pay Platinex $5 million dollars plus court fees to reluctantly leave the territory. With this fiasco in the past, however, we see that KI continues to have their sovereignty and land threatened.
Since Platinex has left the territory, KI has developed a Water Declaration and Consultation Protocol which was passed at a community referendum on July 5, 2011 and brought into force as Indigenous law by KI Chief and council through a Band Council resolution along with a spiritual ceremony and blessings of the results.
The KI Watershed Declaration applies to 13,025km2 of boreal rivers, lakes, forests, and wetlands and asserts that this area is to be protected through KI care and authority. In the declaration, KI has called on supporters:
"We call on our supporters to recognize and respect this declaration. We call on you to fulfill your duty as treaty people to take action, under our direction, to hold your government accountable to respecting this declaration. Please stand with us as we assert and implement our Indigenous Laws and responsibilities. Together we can protect this sacred water for all people, all animals, all plants and all life."
KI has also declared a moratorium on all logging, mining exploration and development activity (including airborne exploration, claim staking and early exploration), energy developments, research projects and other activities that would affect KI lands and resources unless they have been agreed to through KI's Consultation Protocol.
KI is merely taking active steps in preventing the destruction that mining operations and other extractive industries cause to Indigenous lands, resources, and communities. Especially since it is clear that federal or provincila governments will not take those steps.
Take Attawapiskat. The Northern Ontario community has been making headlines with the story of their housing crisis. Some are asking how this crisis could happen? APTN, however, was not pretending to be naive. They knew the answer.
The article reports that the federal government even knew about it, but didn't fix it. The De Beers diamond mine in the region has done little to help the economy (the common tag-line of mining advocates) of Attawapiskat, and in fact, has created more problems.
And while KI is being pro-active about protecting their water supplies and resources, McGuinty's government's failure to stop God's Lake Resources, Inc. from exploration undermines the community's efforts. Is the province trying to may create more situations like those in Attawapiskat. When will government's begin listening to First Nations about what they want for their lands?
KI is saying that they do not want mining on their lands.
It is clear that even though Harper and McGuinty cannot seem to learn from past mistakes and adequately address problems with archaic mining acts and poor relations with communities, KI will continue to defend their homeland.
Why has neither Harper or McGuinty figured this out after the 2008 Platinex issue? Are they just looking for more ways to divert public funds to paying off mining corporations and covering their legal costs? Why do both Harper and McGuinty even feel entitled to exploit sovereign nations?
While we can spend endless amounts of time trying to understand their "logic," or lack thereof, we could ask a simpler question: What can we do now?
Sign up at http://kilands.org/take-action/ to stay informed.
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