GODS LAKE – MINING – Manto Sipi Cree Nation Chief and Council attending the Mining and Minerals Convention spoke out to the conference goers expressing their opposition to the Minister’s Mining Advisory Council’s purported role on exploration and mining development in northern Manitoba. The Advisory Council is a forum for Industry, First Nations and the Province funded by Manitoba to address mineral exploration development issues in Manitoba.
Chief Michael Yellowback stated, “When I heard the presentation by the Minister’s Mining Advisory Council, I had to speak out because the impression I got was that the Advisory Council was representing the voice of all First Nations and setting the stage how First Nations will conduct consultation and resource development in their territories. I had to set the record straight that Manto Sipi Cree Nation for one will not agree to any decision of the Advisory Council and the Province of Manitoba on matters of policy, processes or any agreement on resource development.
At the convention, on November 19, 2014, the Minister’s Mining Advisory Council announced and signed a “Declaration of Priorities” which included guidelines on consultation, resource development and engagement, establishment of a First Nation Economic Development Corporation and a revenue sharing mechanism.
Chief Michael Yellowback added, I have no objection to resource development but I will not support policies or arrangements that may at the end of the day be imposed on us. Manto Sipi Cree Nation will object to new approaches to consultation, resource development and engagement, and revenue sharing where consent has not been obtained from MSCN. I support the concept of revenue sharing and it is an intermediate half step towards the full realization of resource equity management. Our Treaties are testaments that natural resources are to be shared and our rights to subsurface minerals were never the subject of Treaty negotiations. I also believe there should be a legal duty to consult by the government of Manitoba on any revenue sharing arrangement as it relates to our Treaties.
I strongly remind Minister Chomiak that we have our own processes and institutions where we reach agreements collectively. I certainly don’t want the Advisory Council to preempt or effect our negotiations at the community level and ultimately affect our Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. Again, Manto Sipi,Cree Nation for one will not accept unilateral imposition on matters relating to resource development on our ancestral lands” Chief Yellowback concluded.
Manto Sipi Cree Nation believes any legislation, regulation, government policy or arrangement that affects First Nations rights are subject to Crown – First Nation consultation.