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December 4, 2014
THUNDER BAY: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Harvey Yesno outlined how First Nations will assert control over economic, resource and energy development in NAN territory during the 8th Annual Aboriginal Energy Forum in Toronto today.
“Supreme Court of Canada decisions support First Nation rights to control development in our traditional territories and have sent a clear message that Aboriginal title must be recognized and respected by governments and industry,” said NAN Grand Chief Harvey Yesno, who delivered a keynote address. “No longer will our people suffer third-world living conditions while the rest of Ontario prospers from the exploitation of our territories. We are the people of the land, and we will defend our right to control development so the wealth from our lands benefits our people and the growth of our Nation.”
Yesno highlighted how colonial and paternal approaches by government and industry have relegated many First Nation communities to unprecedented levels of poverty. He outlined a new approach where development will be First Nation-led and approached from the foundation of the Treaties.
He also explained how Bill 191: The Far North Act will relegate NAN territory to a welfare state and do nothing to create certainty for investment in the North. Instead of flawed legislation, he called for the creation of a NAN-Ontario-Canada Infrastructure Build Fund to support regional infrastructure needs and energy capacity.
“Winter is approaching and many of our remote First Nations that rely on diesel power to generate electricity are already running low on fuel. Many more of our communities struggle daily to address basic issues such as housing, health care and education,” said
Yesno. “We are willing to work with government and industry but the Government of Ontario must stop nickel-and-diming First Nations and provide the necessary infrastructure and resources for our communities if they want development to succeed in the North.”
For more information please contact: Roxann Shapwaykeesic, Communications Officer – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (807) 625-4906 or cell (807) 251-6876 or by email [email protected]
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