Ontario Respects KI Moratorium on Mining Exploration
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Conflict with GLR escalates with talk of private security
The government of Ontario today withdrew 23,181 square km of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug Indigenous Nation (KI) Homeland from mining exploration in respect for KI’s 12 year old moratorium on mining exploration and other industry on its Homeland.
“This is a huge step towards recognition of KI’s laws, rights and authority on its Indigenous Homeland, and a promising move away from the legacy of conflict and abuse,” said David Sone of Earthroots. “KI’s vision for their Homeland and environment is a beacon that lights the way towards true respect for the ecosystems that give us all fresh air, clean water, and abundant wildlife – Ontario is right in moving to respect KI’s decisions for their Homeland.”
The withdrawn lands are more than 5 times the size of PEI, and nearly 37 times the size of the City of Toronto.
However, the new withdrawl does not include Gods Lake Resources’ (GLR) claims and leases at Sherman Lake in KI Homeland, a sacred area known to have KI burials and other cultural values. The MNDM has indicated that GLR intends to access that site this month. KI’s Chief Morris said in a Feb. 16 youtube video that his community was mobilizing and he feared that the situation would escalate. In a March 1 news release GLR indicated that they are looking to hire private security for their drill program – a potentially explosive move.
“We hope that this positive move signals that Ontario is ready for a new relationship with KI, and that this new relationship will include a just resolution to KI’s concerns about sacred sites in the Sherman Lake area, and respect for KI’s decisions including their Water Declaration which sets their home watershed off-limits to industry,” said David Sone of Earthroots.
On July 5, 2011 KI brought into force the KI Water Declaration and KI Consultation Protocol with 96% community support at referendum. These Indigenous Laws place the entire watershed of the Big Trout Lake and Fawn River off limits to industry, and set out the rules by which outsiders must seek KI consent before working on KI lands.
Over 35 organizations have endorsed KI’s stance including the Assembly of First Nations, Chiefs of Ontario, and the Ontario Federation of Labour.
David Sone, Earthroots: 416-323-4761
Ontario Government press release: