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Northern Table Will Help Build Prosperity For Northern First Nations
QUEEN’S PARK, April 18 – The Ontario government has taken a significant step forward in building relationships with Aboriginal communities in the North. David Ramsay, Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs and Grand Chief Stan Beardy of Nishnawbe Aski Nation signed a Letter of Political Agreement between Ontario and Nishnawbe Aski First Nations this morning at Queen’s Park.
“The Northern Table will create a new working relationship based on a joint commitment to positive and meaningful change among Nishnawbe-Aski First Nations, Nishnawbe-Aski Nation (NAN), and Ontario,” Ramsay said. The Northern Table provides a political forum for dialogue between the Ontario government and Treaty 9 and Treaty 5 First Nations. To move forward, NAN First Nations and Ontario have agreed to work on three priorities: the development of a Memorandum of Agreement between the Ministry of Natural Resources and NAN to implement the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act in NAN territory; development of a notification protocol for Ministry of Natural Resources licences and permits for resource development activities; and to discuss land use planning, including approaches for balancing traditional and non-traditional activities for NAN First Nations both in the far north and southern parts of NAN.
The Northern Table will build on the provincial government’s commitment through current initiatives, programs and services to ensure that First Nations in the North are able to successfully participate in the northern economy.
“NAN leadership has high expectations that the Northern Table will assist in developing a meaningful relationship with the Government of Ontario that is respectful of our understanding of treaties 9 and 5 signed 100 years ago,” said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy. “Active participation by First Nation people in the economy and respect for Aboriginal and Treaty rights, will provide the basis for a better future for the people of Nishnawbe Aski.”
The McGuinty government is committed to the prosperity and well being of the North. The Northern Table will help enhance First Nation participation in the benefits of resource development and advance the long-term sustainability of the northern economy.
The establishment of the Northern Table fulfills a commitment of Ontario’s New Approach to Aboriginal Affairs. Launched in 2005, the New Approach to Aboriginal Affairs outlines the basis of the government’s Aboriginal policy – a relationship sustained by mutual respect that will lead to improved opportunities and a better future for Aboriginal children and youth.
For further information: Anne-Marie Flanagan, Minister Ramsay’s Office, (416) 327-0654; Merike Nurming, Communications Branch, (416) 326-4079; Jenna Young, Director of Communications, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625-4952
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