THUNDER BAY – KI is calling for resumption of government to government talks in the month of June in the wake of the Ontario buyout of God’s Lake Resources mining claims and leases in the KI sacred landscape at Sherman Lake. “The decision is bittersweet,” said Chief Donny Morris. “KI has a sacred duty under KI Law to assert its jurisdiction, care for the land and protect and honour sacred landscapes and graves of our ancestors. That is why we went to jail in the past and that is why we will defend our lands in the future.” the Chief added.
“KI is pleased that Ontario has acted to protect the KI sacred landscape but disappointed that GLR was able to apparently unjustly enrich themselves at the hands of tax payers,” continued Chief Morris. “KI had warned Ontario officials that they were repeating mistakes made when taxpayers paid $5 million to mining exploration company Platinex in 2008 to buy out the company’s claims and leases following a dispute with KI over unwanted drilling and mining exploration”.
In that case, Platinex launched a $70 million lawsuit that blamed Ontario officials for a failed consultation process with the community that ultimately led to the jailing of the Chief and five other leaders (the KI 6). In November 2011, KI broke off talks aimed at creating a unique joint panel tasked with developing creative solutions for KI’s jurisdictional issues with the province when Ontario officials could offer no assurances that GLR would not desecrate a KI sacred landscape with a proposed drill program.
“With the GLR issue resolved those talks can now resume,” commented Chief Morris.
KI declared a moratorium on mining exploration, park creation and all other Ontario land dispositions in 2000. The KI moratorium on Ontario land dispositions remains in effect until KI resolves outstanding land claims and jurisdictional issues with Ontario.
In 2011, KI proclaimed a Watershed Declaration to protect the Fawn River watershed and all the water that flow in and out of Big Trout Lake and created a new approach to consultation in KI Consultation Protocol.
The Anglican Church, the Ontario Federation and Labour, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the NDP, Amnesty International and a number of environmental organizations had all rallied to support KI demand to protect the sacred landscape and stop the drilling.
“I want to acknowledge all supporters out there who helped us protect the sacred landscape and honour our ancestors,” concluded Chief Morris.