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Setback to the land surveying project of First Nations

Canada: A northwestern Ontario First Nation has placed a moratorium on geophysical surveying of its traditional territory.

The council at Fort Severn has told the Ontario Geological Survey it is formally withdrawing its permission until Ontario and Canada recognise a government-to-government relationship with First Nations.

The letter to the Ontario Geological Survey from Fort Severn First Nation states, “The people of Fort Severn are dissatisfied with the slow reaction of the Canadian and Ontario governments to respond to the Idle No More movement and the hunger fast of Chief Theresa Spence. As a signatory of Treaty No. 9, Ontario has a responsibility to respond to the demands of the First Nations for a treaty relationship.”

The letter, which was signed by Chief Joseph Crowe, adds, “The chief and council of Fort Severn Cree will revisit this decision on February 28, the next scheduled meeting of the First Nations leadership and Canada. If the people of Fort Severn are satisfied that progress has been made at this meeting, this moratorium will be lifted.”

“Collecting geophysical data is part of Ministry of Northern Development and Mines’ (MNDM) geoscience work,” said Julia Bennett, communications co-ordinator for the ministry.

“This survey supports a five-year geology mapping plan that was developed based on the interests that were shared by the community and the OGS to study the geology in the region,” she added

Bennett stated the now-suspended project was “going to help researchers understand the geological history of the region, the ground energy potential, mineral resource potential, groundwater implications, safety and health implications.”

Source: CBC