AKRC Recommendations and Written SubmissionsSubmitted By: Juanita Jourdain, Director of Operations December 23, 2016
The Anishinaabeg of Kabapikotawangag hold a solemn responsibility to protect all life within their ancestral territory. This includes the waters, lands, animal life, spiritual beings, mineral and rocks, and their ancestral presence (for example, burial grounds, sites of ceremonial and cultural significance, and historical sites). This much larger view of the environment is included in their laws, Anishinaabe Inakonigaawin including the resource law, Manito Aki Inakonigaawin which is enforced by the member communities of Grand Council Treaty #3.
In reviewing submissions made to the EA Panel, AKRC has tried not to be too repetitive about the technical review of CEAA 2012. In fact, philosophically, the political leadership of Kabapikotawangag believe that the first recommendation should be to start from the drawing board and create a 21st century sustainability assessment process that allows for multi-jurisdictional review at the regional EA level for regions like Kabapikotawangag where significant mineral activity is poised to change the landscape forever. This will create a beneficial process that will meet a higher level goal of reconciliation for the First Nations resident within those regions where significant economic activity, infrastructure, energy, and transportation development is likely to occur.
Also, it is important to ensure that when looking at environmental assessments it is important to capture the baseline socio-economic conditions of the First Nations that will be impacted accurately and completely. New Gold’s Rainy River project is a gold mine being built within Kabapikotawangag and it is already having harmful socio-economic impacts not fully considered by CEAA or the federal, provincial or First Nation governments. The impacts are therefore, more far-reaching than originally forecasted and as a result, fuller benefits (negotiated with New Gold) are being denied the First Nations because of social issues. This lost opportunity is a big social cost to First Nations that cannot afford it. New Gold was said to have a 20% goal for First Nations labour on-site and that is not being achieved despite having 10 First Nation communities within daily travel distance to the site. Alcoholism, domestic violence, and drug abuse numbers have increased during the project’s construction period.
The relationship building goal within economic development in an Indigenous Nation’s territory is the key to success.
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