First Nations Seek Consent for Work in James Bay Treaty Lands

Mushkegowuk Grand Council Chief Stan Louttit stated, at a Mining Ready Conference on October 26, 2011, that mining companies must go beyond consultation and obtain consent before work can proceed on the James Bay Treaty lands.

The James Bay Treaty – Treaty Number 9 was negotiated in 1905 and 1906. The Adhesions were negotiated in 1929 and 1930. The Treaty and the Adhesions were notable because they were negotiated and signed by the Province of Ontario and the Federal Government . The Treaty and the Adhesions cover those lands from the height of land – north of Thunder Bay to the Artic and from James Bay to the Manitoba border. Historically the Province of Ontario has absolutely controlled and regulated mining and forestry in this area. Subject to recent Supreme Court decisions both the federal and provincial governments are required to consult with First Nations before issuing any permits e.g. under the Mining Act for exploration and advanced activities. There have been numerous altercations and Court appearances of these matters – usually driven by the duty to consult. Another set of concerns will emerge driven by Nishnawbe Aski Nation and the Tribal Councils. Essentially the First Nations have begun to assert that the Treaty Number 9 and the Adhesions were not properly signed.

It should be expected that the First Nations will seek to ” re negotiate ” the Treaty and assert that there should be limited if any government regulation in the James Bay Treaty area and that there must be prior approval from the First Nations before provincial approvals, if any.

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