The East-West Corridor Collaborative Agreement was signed between the communities of Webequie, Neskantaga, Eabametoong and Nibinamik at the Aboriginal Forum at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Convention. Other regional communities such as Mishkeegogaman have also joined the collaboration. The First Nations have been working together to formalize a community-driven strategy on regional infrastructure development. The ultimate goal is to establish a joint venture that will operate an infrastructure, transportation and service corridor for potential mining companies in the Ring of Fire.
These four identified are impacted by the potential mining developments in the Ring of fire area, and are committed to working collectively together to capitalize on the potential benefits while mitigating the potential issues. The collaborative agreement provides the foundation and framework to work collaboratively and move to the next phases in the pursuit of a joint venture for that east-west corridor, provided that it to be economically feasible.
“Potential ownership of this service corridor means that our people will have new opportunities for training, jobs, businesses and access to services that they manage. By taking control of our traditional homeland, we can ensure that our communities really benefit in meaningful and long-term ways from the potential development in the Ring of Fire,” stated Chief Harry Papah of Eabametoong First Nation.
Chief Peter Moonias of Neskantaga First Nation added, “As a group of First Nations, we can stand strong and direct companies that enter into our traditional lands to work in partnership with us with the expectation that each community’s protocols will be respected and that every person’s voice will be heard. In this way, the direction we take with this potential development will come directly from our people, our community members, and today we sign this agreement to commit to work together on the development of this corridor. ”
Signing the agreement for Nibinamik First Nation, Chief Johnny Yellowhead said, “The state of our First Nation communities is not new news. It is well-known that we are lacking basic essential services and amenities that most take for granted – All of our impacted communities want to benefit socially and economically from this Ring of Fire development.”
Chief Cornelius Wabasse of Webequie First Nation concluded, “By signing a collaborative agreement between our four First Nation communities today, we are reaffirming our legal rights and autonomy with respect to decision-making processes in the Ring of Fire. Our message here today is clear and aims to promote understanding of how to work with our Northern Ontario First Nations.”