Wahgoshig First Nation – Ontario sending misguided message to First Nations

Nishnawbe-Aski Nation NAN


SUDBURY – Mining News – Wahgoshig First Nation Chief David Babin with support from Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Harvey Yesno is calling on Ontario to withdraw its support and public endorsement of racist and radical industry representatives, particularly members of the Mining United group and the Ontario Prospectors Association.

“Representatives of this radical association of junior mining groups has waged a racist media campaign against the Wahgoshig First Nation, who are taking a legal and principled position to defend their Treaty and aboriginal rights, as well as ensuring that Ontario meets its obligations on ‘the duty to consult’ in good faith,” said Grand Chief Yesno. “The Province of Ontario and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines continue to send a misguided message to First Nations by supporting this group.”

Mr. Darryl Stretch who represents Mining United, and Solid Gold Resources Corporation is presenting at the 2012 Ontario Exploration and Geoscience Symposium (OEGS) to be held in Sudbury, ON November 6 and 7 2012. The Ontario Exploration & Geoscience Symposium is coordinated by the Ontario Prospectors Association with workshops, a variety of technical presentations and exhibits.

Of concern to NAN is the continued support of Minister Rick Bartolucci for the Ontario Prospectors Association (OPA), who will have a full line up of MNDM staff alongside Mr. Darryl Stretch who is scheduled to present directly to the symposium delegates. Mr. Garry Clark, Executive Director of the OPA, member of the Minister of Mines Mining Act Advisory Committee and the Ontario Geological Survey Advisory Board has also stated publicly that Mining United may become a subcommittee of the OPA organization.

Mr. Clark has been reported in the media saying that there are industry insiders “happy” that someone is taking a hard-line stand in reference to the racist and radical comments of Mr. Stretch.

“I do not believe that reasonable Ontarians and responsible mining industry members support the activities and statements made by these representatives. It just makes it that much more difficult to have a positive working relationship,” said Regional Grand Chief Stan Beardy who supports Wahgoshig and their struggle to have their aboriginal and Treaty rights respected.
NAN is calling upon the Province of Ontario to: Withdraw MNDM’s continued public endorsement and support of the Ontario Prospectors Association due to their association with Mining United; and remove Mr. Garry Clark as a provincial advisor to the Minister of Northern Development and Mines on the Minister of Mines Mining Act Advisory Committee and the Ontario Geological Survey Advisory Board.

As reported in the Globe and Mail September 6, 2012, Mr. Stretch said the Wahgoshig First Nation wanted him to pay for a $100,000 archeological study to determine if his drill sites were disturbing burial grounds. He refused arguing that his company has no legal requirement to consult the band. “It’s not my obligation to go find arrowheads for those people, period,” he said.

Chief David Babin of the Wahgoshig First Nation, who sought the court injunction after a brief November meeting with the Solid Gold president resulted in an impasse, described Mr. Stretch’s comments as offensive. “This guy has no intention of working with First Nations people,” Chief Babin said in an interview, noting that his band has signed agreements with other exploration companies.

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