THUNDER BAY – “On behalf of the Chiefs of Ontario, I fully support and endorse the need for Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) to be fully engaged on any future efforts to combat climate change,” said Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day in reaction to a presentation by NAN Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox at yesterday’s Province of Ontario Standing Committee on General Government at Queen’s Park.
“Indigenous peoples are the first to feel the many adverse effects of climate change. Northern communities have been experiencing the effects of global warming for over a decade now,” said Regional Chief Day. “Traditional ways, transportation methods, infrastructure, safety, and drainage are all being affected. Climate change also severely impacts many social determinants of health. We cannot afford to risk our lands and our livelihoods to further increases in temperature.”
At yesterday’s committee presentation, Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox stated: “NAN First Nations are the stewards of the land and our territory will be a key part of any efforts to address climate change. We are willing to work on global solutions but require a defined process to engage in a collaborative effort that respects Aboriginal and Treaty rights.”
Introduced in February 2016, Bill 172 the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, does not guarantee that First Nation traditional ecological knowledge will be incorporated and does not specify a formal process for direct involvement or benefits for First Nations.
Deputy Grand Chief Fox outlined how Ontario must provide NAN and NAN First Nations with permanent methods and processes, including sufficient resources and core funding, to work collaboratively on climate change.
“As Ontario and Canada continue to develop its climate change strategies, First Nations continue to develop their own solutions to further a more sustainable global approach,” said Regional Chief Day. “With the uncertainty we face today on matters of climate change and global warming, First Nations cannot be left behind whenever governments meet to make critical decisions that directly impact our Peoples.
“I am confident that our renewed nation-to-nation relationship, at the provincial and federal levels, signals that we will be at the forefront and not on the sidelines,” added Regional Chief Day. “It is only through working together as full partners, will we defeat climate change and preserve our planet for generations to come.”