The Manitoba government signed a new consultation protocol with the Manto Sipi Cree Nation following the recent completion of negotiations, Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen and Chief Oliver Okemow of Manto Sipi Cree Nation announced today, adding it is the first to be developed through the Manitoba-First Nations Mineral Development Protocol initiative.
“The mineral development protocol helps to create certainty for all parties including First Nations, industry and government, and ensures that First Nations can be actively involved in all phases of mineral development to create and share in the benefits of growth in this sector,” said Pedersen. “We have a duty to consult in a meaningful way with Indigenous communities when any proposed provincial decision or action may adversely affect the exercise of Aboriginal or Treaty rights. Through a meaningful negotiation process with the Manto Sipi Cree Nation, we have arrived at a process for Crown-Indigenous consultation for all phases of mineral exploration and development.”
Following extensive engagement with First Nations leadership and industry representatives, the province released the Manitoba-First Nations Mineral Development Protocol in May 2019. The protocol defines how Crown–Indigenous consultations will occur during all phases of mineral development, creates certainty in order to advance projects in a timely way and ensures First Nations can be actively involved in all phases of development projects within their traditional territories. This will also provide mineral exploration and mining industries with a clear understanding of the requirements and processes for mineral development projects in Indigenous traditional territories.
“While negotiating with the province, we were able to have a number of discussions on historic issues including unresolved treaty land entitlements,” said Okemow. “We are very pleased with the discussions that took place, which have collectively helped us to address some of our historical concerns, and are excited to move forward with a renewed relationship and understanding with the province and to advance the mineral development opportunities within our traditional territory.”
“This agreement is significant as it advances reconciliation by fostering a mutually respectful relationship between the Crown and Indigenous communities, as well as between industry and Indigenous communities,” said Indigenous and Northern Relations Minister Eileen Clarke. “The certainty that these agreements bring will enhance public confidence in the mineral sector and the necessary assurance that Manitoba is the right place for business to invest, build and grow.”
The Manitoba government is in discussions with approximately 10 First Nations relating to the development of consultation protocols. The process is open to all Indigenous communities with immediate or potential mineral development opportunities.
The Look North Report and Action Plan for Manitoba’s Northern Economy highlights mining as a long-time net contributor to Manitoba’s economic prosperity and a top priority in the north. More information on the Look North initiative is available at www.gov.mb.ca/looknorth/index.html.
The Manitoba-First Nations Mineral Development Action Plan can be found at www.manitoba.ca/iem/mines/fnmdp.html.
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