THUNDER BAY – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, Mushkegowuk Council Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon and First Nation Chiefs in north-eastern Ontario today affirmed their unwavering resolve to protect and defend their homelands following the commencement of legal action by the Quebec-based Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee claiming Aboriginal rights and title to lands in Ontario.
“Any effort by any government to undermine the Treaty, ancestral or territorial rights of NAN First Nations will be decisively fought at both the political and legal levels. I am confident that, on reflection, the legal action taken by the Grand Council of the Crees will be reconsidered and other solutions will be found for pursuing their issues with the governments of Canada and Ontario. In the meantime, we are united in our resolve to protect and assert our rightful authority and jurisdiction over our homelands,” said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler.
On March 7, 2016 the Quebec Cree announced legal action in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against the governments of Canada and Ontario seeking Aboriginal rights and title over approximately 48,000 square kilometres of land in the traditional territory of several First Nations that are members of Mushkegowuk and NAN, along the southwestern shore of James Bay and the Ontario-Quebec border.
“I am a little saddened by the action taken by our Cree cousins of Quebec, and we hope they will reconsider, so that we can continue to work together as we always have, but the reality is that of course the Mushkegowuk Cree, if pushed, will fully defend our homeland, including in the courts, although I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that,” said Mushkegowuk Council Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon.
Nishnawbe Aski Nation and the Mushkegowuk Council are fully committed to defending the homelands of their members and asserting their members’ rightful jurisdiction and authority over their traditional territory and support the efforts of all NAN First Nations to protect their rights in their traditional territories.