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To: Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Mines George Pirie, and Minister of Indigenous Affairs Greg Rickford
Respect the moratorium: No mining on Indigenous land without consent
Respect the moratorium on industrial activity on Grassy Narrows Territory. Your government must respect the Indigenous right to say ‘no’ to mining claims on their land.
Why is this important?
It is unacceptable to allow mining on Indigenous land without the free, prior and informed consent of the First Nation whose land it is.
In Ontario, the “free entry” system has resulted in an inundation of mining claims submitted to First Nations. Mining companies are allowed to stake claims online, without ever setting foot on the land they hope to mine, and without gaining the consent of the Indigenous people who live there.
This bureaucracy has consistently acted to deny Indigenous people control over their land. The sheer volume of claims is nearly impossible to keep up with. In fact, the Chiefs of Ontario are calling for a one-year moratorium on staking mining claims to give communities time to assess the massive number of claims and develop a meaningful process.
For mining claims issued on Grassy Narrows’ Territory, there is no question that the community does not consent. Their land has already been violated by mercury, clearcut logging, and hydro dams. And in 2018, Grassy Narrows enacted a Land Declaration, enshrining into their law a ban on all mineral staking, exploration, mining, and logging in their territory.
The Ontario government, which claims to be committed to reconciliation, must respect Grassy Narrows, respect their moratorium, and withdraw all mining claims that do not have their consent.