Serpent River Chief Isadore Day.    –  Photo by Monica Lister

Serpent River Chief Isadore Day. – Photo by Monica Lister

SERPENT RIVER FIRST NATION – Chief Isadore Day has put a call out this week for environmental commissioners who will be a critical part of the First Nation implementation of the community’s Environmental Review System.  A review panel format will be used to examine major projects.

The First Nation, located on the North Shore of Lake Huron, has long held a strong interest in environmental issues in their traditional territory. Historically, the region was affected by forestry and mining. Over a century of environmental impacts and short-sighted legislation is prompting the First Nation to exercise jurisdictional efforts to ensure sustainability in their territory.

Chief Isadore Day says, “This is an important step for the community for two reasons. First, climate change is a reality; we must take a direct approach to addressing adaptation needs of our community as the planet experiences inevitable impact. Secondly, we have a legal stake as First Nations to protect our lands – we must define, assert and uphold our culturally relevant environmental jurisdiction through stewardship models at the community level.”

Ontario and Canada have both been notified by Serpent River First Nation that they are not seeking to separate themselves from existing environmental policy or regulatory regimes rather, they are seeking to enhance the environmental assessment process.  The First Nation has created a system that invites all other jurisdictions regulators into their process in an effort to come up with an integrated plan toward sustainable development and identification of environmental impacts.

“Our goal is to ensure that we are reviewing all projects through an integrated lens of policy and regulation,” says Chief Day.  “We have stated to the province and federal government that we intend to work with them to uphold the highest standards possible that seeks sustainability of the environment. This will happen through close examination of all projects in our territory. Our value systems and application of natural law combined with mainstream policy can serve as an approach increases options for sustainable development and protection of the environment.”

The First Nation has procured the services of a leading environmental firm to assist formalizing their process. They are working on putting an administrative process in place to process a number of natural resource development projects in their territory. They expect to be fully operational by the end of July of 2013.

For More Information Contact Chief Isadore Day:

705-261-1865 or iday@bell.blackberry.net