Friday, July 25, 2008

Moose Cree make homeland declaration

“We are the Moose Cree People, the original people of this land…”
With those words, Chief Patricia Faries-Akiwenzie made a declaration Thursday that outlined nearly 6 million hectares of land as belonging to the Moose Cree First Nation.
The parcel of land stretches from north of Moosonee to an area near the Chapleau Crown Game Preserve. It does not include Timmins, but it does include Kapuskasing, Mattice, Val Rita and Moonbeam.
Before a gathering of Timmins media representatives, Faries-Akiwenzie said, “the time has come” to let everyone know who the owners of the land are.
“When our forefathers signed the treaty, we made it clear we were not giving up our land,” said Faries-Akiwenzie.
The chief, who is also a lawyer with a practice in Moose Factory, says the declaration is not meant to tie up the courts.
We are not opposed to development but you must get our consent prior to any development occurring within our homeland.
She said the intent of the declaration is not to create conflict, but instead foster a new climate of cooperation since the land and her people are being faced with so many new challenges involving mining, forestry, hydro-electric developments and even wind energy.
“We are saying you need our consent. We need to be a part of the whole development aspect,” said the chief.
Faries-Akiwenzie says the declaration is not in response to any urgent matter or development. She says the project to define the traditional land has been underway for several years and has involved extensive research with families and elders who have lived on the land. She adds the declaration is not involved with the announcement last week by Premier Dalton McGuinty that northern lands need to be protected.
“We were not involved in the premier’s plan to declare any of it protected,” Faries-Akiwenzie told reporters.
“This is one of the approaches Ontario has always had in the way they deal with First Nations. They don’t involve us in their planning or anything like that.”
She adds however, now that the declaration has been made, northern communities are being put on notice that from this point forward, the Moose Cree First Nation will be protecting it’s interests.
“The Moose Cree are a sovereign nation and we will control our own destiny,” said the chief.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can you say, MONEYGRAB?!? Seriously, this has to stop...