By Marlene Bilous
The Union of Ontario Indians and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines will be implementing a new three–year agreement to enhance Anishinabek participation in mining through information sharing, awareness development and capacity building. Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee and the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, David Zimmer signed the Letter of Commitment to initiate this process in late July.
The Mining Technical Table will act as a forum to provide the opportunity for Anishinabek First Nations to discuss issues of concern relating to mining activities, to facilitate common understanding and to the resolution of issues.
Anishinabek Nation Lands and Resources Advocacy Chief Isadore Day stated that he looks forward to hosting the kick-off meeting of the Mining Technical Table and providing leadership to the regional technical representatives and Union staff this fall in order to set priorities and develop strategy to meet the challenges presented by Ontario’s major industry, mining.
Northern Superior Regional Grand Chief Peter Collins and the Chiefs from that region have frequently asserted that Anishinabek citizens should have equal opportunities to enjoy the same quality of life as other Canadians and they have been strong advocates for sharing in revenues generated by mining resources, from government and from mining companies.
Lake Huron Regional Grand Chief Day has been a strong advocate for Anishinabek and Treaty rights, environmental stewardship and for Anishinabek Nation sharing in resource revenues generated from traditional territories. He looks forward to working with Peter Recollet of the Wahnapitae First Nation.
Southeastern Regional Grand Chief Jim Marsden now inacted Dave Simpson to represent his region which has recently received several permit applications for advanced exploration in gold mining which threaten Section 35 rights.
Southwestern Regional Grand Chief Chris Plain has nominated Sharilyn Johnston to represent that region. The proposed expansion of the Sifto Salt mine under Lake Erie and maintaining the water quality of the Great Lakes are the major mining issues in the Southwestern Region.