Chief Morris on the KI Watershed Declaration

Chief Morris on the KI Watershed Declaration

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July 9, 2011

In this short video, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation Chief Donnie Morris talks about the newly ratified KI Watershed Declaration.

On July 5, 2011, KI held a custom-based referendum to decide on whether or not to ratify the wide-reaching document, which applies to all 13,025 square kilometres of lakes, rivers and wetlands in and around Big Trout Lake in northern Ontario.

The referendum’s outcome was unprecedented by any Canadian standard; 96 per cent of KI’s population said YES to the declaration.

“All waters that flow into and out of Big Trout Lake, and all lands whose waters flow those lakes, rivers, and wetlands, are declared to be completely protected in the KI Watershed Declaration, under KI’s authority, laws and protocol. No industrial uses, or other uses which disrupt, poison, or otherwise harm KI’s relationship to these lands and waters will be permitted,” notes Wawatay News.

In addition to the Watershed Declaration, KI voted to approve a new Consultation Protocol, which sets out how consent will be given prior to any decision that would affect KI’s land and resources.

“The KI Watershed Declaration and the KI Consultation Protocol will give us a new mandate to foster dialogue with governments and corporations and as well as open up new opportunities in the areas of economic development, environmental sustainability and off-reserve issues,” Chief Donny Morris told Wawatay.

However, in his personal announcement on YouTube, Chief Morris expresses some concern that the government of Ontario won’t recognize the declaration. Given Canada’s dismal record on the matter of Consultation and “Consent” (a word that Judges in Canada won’t even say) it may very well be true; but even so, it will be hard for them to ignore it, especially since the declaration came about through such a resounding democratic vote.

For more information and contacts, see

KI Watershed Declaration

KI Watershed Declaration

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