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OTTAWA, April 9 – Today the AFN Women’s Council reiterated their support for Algonquin leader Robert Lovelace of Ardoch and Chief Donny Morris, the four councillors and community member of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), who are in jail for contempt of court. In two separate cases, these First Nations communities refused to allow mining exploration on their traditional lands without their permission. “What is being implied in these cases? That economic interests trump First Nation rights? Or that economic interests trump constitutionally protected rights? This is a slippery slope, not only for First Nations but for all Canadians,” said AFN Women’s Council Chair Kathleen McHugh. “This should never have gotten to the point where it went to court. The corporations involved can still do the right thing: sit down and negotiate fairly and openly with the communities and their leadership. We also call on the federal government to end its silence and act responsibly by following its legal duty to ensure First Nations are properly consulted when development takes place on their lands.”
The AFN Women’s Council has supported a “wave fast” started by the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Women’s Council in support of the communities. AFN Women’s Council Chair Kathleen McHugh also visited KI Band Councillor Cecilia Begg in the Kenora jail earlier this month.
The AFN Women’s Council is committed to ensuring that First Nation women’s perspectives are included in all AFN policy directives and activities, in addition to ensuring that the AFN is an effective advocate on behalf of First Nation’s women.
For further information: Karyn Pugliese, Heath Communications, (613) 241-6789 ext 210, cell (613) 292-1877
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