Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug – Leader’s Ledger – Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug Chief Donny Morris has provided NNL with a copy of a letter to the Minister of Northern Development and Mines. Here is the full text of that letter:
Hon. Rick Bartolucci
Minister of Northern Development and Mines
Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry
Room 5630, 5th Floor, Whitney Block
99 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1W3
I am writing to express my anger and disappointment with the meeting we held with your ADM Mr.Mantha and ADMs from Natural Resources and Aboriginal Affairs in Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug on November 14th.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss an independent panel or a similar forum tasked;
1.To investigate and report on issues raised directly or indirectly by the God’s Lake Resources dispute and issues outstanding following the conclusion of the Platinex litigation.
2. To make recommendations, including new legislation, to resolve the current GLR dispute and ensure GLR type disputes are avoided in future.
3. To make recommendations on how to protect KI cemeteries, sacred sites and burials against the actions of third parties.
4. To make recommendations on precautionary measures that could form part of the reconciliation recommended by the Court of Appeal at the conclusion of the Platinex litigation in 2008.
5. To make any other recommendations that the panel consider appropriate.
To be absolutely clear this was not a meeting about the Crown’s ongoing duty to consult with KI regarding God’s Lake Resources.
Prior to the meeting KI had made its position clear that KI participation in the panel was conditional on GLR stopping work. This is a Aavery reasonable request given the real risk that work by GLR could disturb sacred sites.
The question before your officials at the November 14th meeting was whether or not they could provide assurances that God’s Lake Resources would cease and desist work on their claims and leases while the proposed panel met.
To recap. We all agree that KI has a cemetery, burials and sacred sites in the GLR project area. Further, we all know that if GLR goes on the land they risk disturbing burials and sacred areas that are not immediately visible to the untrained eye. We have warned you and your officials that the GLR project puts these sacred areas at risk on a number of occasions. Finally we have requested that you and your officials work with us to create a respectful process to protect the sacred areas. The panel would be part of that process. Our concerns have never been seriously considered.
Instead in a deliberately provocative act GLR went on the land this summer. Where they went and what they did neither we nor your officials can truly say. We were not there and you and your officials were not there. Consultation after GLR access to the land this summer cannot be to be evidence of consultation in respect of the GLR access to the land.
At the November 14th meeting Mr. Mantha was unable to provide any assurances that God’s Lake Resources would not access their claims and leases while the panel was being established and carrying out the needed work and in fact stated that under the current Mining Act GLR is free to access its claims and leases at any time and there is no legislative mechanism or policy available to Ontario to prevent this from happening.
We need a reasonable process to protect our sacred areas. That process cannot take place without assurances that GLR will not access the land where the sites are.
We cannot talk with your government while GLR desecrates.
Where a First Nation provides information in respect of its sacred areas it must be enabled to do so in a proper and complete form. There is a serious danger in providing partial information when it comes to protecting the sacred. This is not simply one field trip with elders or a site visit by an archaeologist.
Information on the cemetery, all the sacred sites and burials is not in a readily available form and will require time and funding to produce it. Technical assistance will be required and community consultation. The information we have to date is inadequate to make a decision of this magnitude and we are looking to the independent panel to assist in creating a respectful process that both KI and Ontario can support.
Minister, once again we are requesting that your government give us the assurance that GLR will not access the project area while the independent panel does its work. If you cannot give us this assurance then there will be no panel and we are inevitably going down the path of the Platinex dispute, a path that led to our jailing.
We look forward to an immediate reply.
Chief Donny Morris.
Hon. Michael Gravelle
Minister of Natural Resources
99 Wellesley St W
Toronto ON M7A1W3
Hon. Kathleen Wynne
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs
160 Bloor St E
Toronto ON M7A2E6