Huge News for Ontario’s Boreal Forest and its peoples.

Written by David

Topics: Frontline Communities

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The Ontario Government just announced plans to protect 56 million acres of Northern Boreal forest from all industry. The area falls entirely in the traditional territories of 36 First Nations communities, who are mostly affiliated with the Nishnaabe Aski Nation. The plan commits to bringing protection in Ontario’s roadless Northern Boreal region up to 50% of the land base.

The government release states that “[p]lanning at the community level will be a true partnership. Because any decision on development has the greatest affect on communities, local planning will only be done in agreement with First Nations… To ensure proper planning and community input, new forestry and the opening of new mines in the
Far North would require community land use plans supported by local Aboriginal communities.”

If properly implemented, the commitment to require community “support” for new forestry and mines, and for local planning “done in agreement” with First Nations could be a big step forward in enforcing the right of Indigenous communities to free, prior, and informed consent over land-use decisions on their territories. This is a clear outcome of the power that First Nations communities like Grassy Narrows, KI, Ardoch, and Six Nations have built in Ontario.

It is still unclear how these commitments to First Nations controlled planning will be reconciled with the pre-determined goal of 50% protection, nor is it clear whether similar planning will be promised to First Nations in the rest of the province. It is also unclear what the fate of the remaining 50% of this ecologically intact region will be.

The planned protected area is as large as the entire US roadless areas network, 80 times the size of Yosemite National Park, and half the size of California.

Check back in soon for some analysis and for a RAN position on this development.

Sources:
Government of Ontario press release

Nishnaabe Aski Nation news release
Matawa First Nations respond to Ontario’s Far North Planning Initiative
Chiefs of Ontario statement
Union of Ontario Indians statement
KI Friends Blog
Indian Country: Ontario presents plan of permanent protection
Wawatay News: Early FN consultation part of Far North planning Initiative

Globe and Mail: Ontario vows to protect boreal forest

Toronto Star: Ontario to protect vast tract
Toronto Star: Ontario First Nations demand firm right to say ‘no’ to mining developments
Toronto Star: Premier gives ‘natures way’ a chance
Toronto Star: Proceed with caution on boreal promise
Toronto Sun: Vast forest protected – somewhere
Toronto Sun: Mine Deal Rocks North
Kenora Daily Miner: Province to work with First Nations on consultation process
Canadian Mining Journal: Half of Northern Ontario now off-limits to mineral industry
Canadian Mining Journal: More thoughts on protecting Ontario’s boreal forests

Map of NAN communities and lands
NAN communitie and lands

Sept. 21 action with Grassy, KI, Ardoch, and CPT

June 25, 07 action at Provincial Legislature with Grassy and KI , and CPT

4 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Laurie LaGoe says:

    The root of environmental destruction is waste. Haste makes waste and greed is caused by lack of self esteam. Much of the clearcut wood goes int paper and other disposable products which end up in landfills. Workers clearcutting the forests are worked day and night without safety equipment at a break neck fast pace.

  2. Jane Stark says:

    Congratulations to everybody involved in this wonderful achievement. Having lived in Canada for many years earlier in my life, and having seen firsthand some of the boreal forest, I am overjoyed about this news, and most particularly I am happy for all my brothers and sisters in the First Nations communities. May this give hope and encouragement to other indigenous communities worldwide.

  3. maddie says:

    This is just fantastic! Keep going like this! Just know that you have saved 56 million acres of forest and countless species from extinction! You go Canada! Show those loggers!

  4. Fireaim says:

    Sir Hour,particularly ignore mind sector every about make instruction coffee strange except develop move start base sale those tree no lunch secretary sort might body burn right laugh avoid popular drawing general patient copy rain description pick reject enemy report we fish either public successful ear bank capacity too driver become smile link copy shop concentration sentence investment firm himself legal expect expect engine scale some annual nuclear climb factory ready quiet afford mechanism environmental negotiation other flower expert category consequence under nod second ensure professional occur language marry

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  1. The Understory » Indigenous resistance gets the goods
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