THUNDER BAY, ON: September 30, 2010 ------ Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy is slamming the Premier of Ontario for announcing the appointment of the Province‟s Ring of Fire Coordinator. During a stop-over in Thunder Bay today to speak to a Northern Ontario delegation, Premier Dalton McGuinty announced that Dr. Christine Kaszycki would assume the position to oversee issues pertaining to an area known as the Ring of Fire – located in NAN territory.
“The Premier of Ontario continuously talks about this so-called „new relationship‟ with First Nations and yet again he unilaterally makes a decision without consultation with NAN First Nations,” said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy. “We are disturbed that the Premier can express his willingness to create a true partnership and yet leaves us out of this critical process. We need to ensure that our objectives and our plans for anything in our territory are adequately represented. We should have been a part of the selection of the person to fill this critical position.”
In April 2010, NAN Chiefs-in-Assembly unanimously passed a resolution stating that free and informed consent of NAN First Nations is required before any significant steps are taken in relation to development projects that may affect NAN territory. NAN Chiefs declared that the right of consent is supported by NAN Aboriginal rights, and the spirit and intent of Treaty No. 9 and Treaty No. 5.
“These are our lands therefore there will not be any movement in terms of development in NAN territory without the consent of the affected First Nations,” said Beardy. “We are not against resource development however we want to be full participants in all aspects of the process.”
Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political territorial organization representing 49 First Nation communities in James Bay Treaty 9 and Ontario portions of Treaty 5 – an area covering two thirds of the province of Ontario.