Missinippi Nehethowak and Hudbay court battle starts

Mathais Columb Cree Nation Chief Arlen Dumas
Grand Chief Arlen Dumas
Pam Palmater
Pam Palmater

WINNIPEG – Aboriginal – The sovereign Nation of Missinippi Nehethowak as represented by Mathias Colomb Cree Nation (MCCN) has extensive Ancestral and Traditional Territory. Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Co., Ltd (Hudbay) has proposed Lalor Lake mine project which is on unceded Missinippi Nehethowak Territory and has failed to obtain MCCN consent to operate on their territory and extract their resources. 

Missinippi Nehethowak no consent

The First Nation, in a media statement declare, “Neither the province of Manitoba, nor Hudbay have engaged in a legal consultation process to obtain the consent of MCCN to remove minerals from MCCN lands. Failure to enter into discussions with Chief Dumas about to address MCCN’s ownership interests in the lands in terms of both resource sharing and protecting the lands and waters, resulted in the issuance of two Stop Work orders on Hudbay and Manitoba on January 28 and March 5”. 

Mathais Columb Cree Nation Chief Arlen Dumas
Mathais Columb Cree Nation Chief Arlen Dumas

“Instead of responding to MCCN’s letters or the appeal process provided in the Stop Work orders, Hudbay and Manitoba wrote similar letters to Chief Dumas indicating that Manitoba supports Hudbay activities on MCCN lands. Hudbay then filed a Notice of Motion to be heard today to seek an injunction restraining Chief Dumas, MCCN members and Pamela Palmater, an activist with Idle No More, from entering on any Hudbay properties which are located on MCCN unceded traditional territories”. 

Chief Dumas states, “During the hearing, the lawyer for MCCN was not permitted to finish any of his arguments, was constantly interrupted and not permitted reasonable time to review surprise affidavits filed by Hudbay lawyers. The judge made most of Hudbay’s arguments for them and allowed their lawyer uninterrupted presentation time.” 

The Manitoba Chiefs state, “The judge singled Chief Dumas out openly in court threatening to have him removed ‘so fast your head would spin’ when supporters moaned over constant interruptions. The judge continued this general behavior and referred to the actions of Chief Dumas, MCCN members and Palmater’s peaceful gatherings as “mischief”, “volatile” and “violent”. The judge continued to prevent MCCN’s lawyer from speaking, so Chief Dumas, Palmater and supporters left the court room”. 

Chief Dumas said “We have attended meetings, written letters, made calls and tried everything we know of to get the parties to the table in a meaningful way that respects our ownership interests and responsibilities. We have been ignored. Even when we attended the mine site to engage in peaceful gatherings, we always acted in a peaceful manner with the safety of our people and that of Hudbay employees as our top priority. This heavy handed action by Hudbay does not reflect well on the province’s legal duty to consult in this situation.”

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