After Friday’s court hearing that accepted mining and exploration company Platinex Inc’s motion for contempt against Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), Chief Donny Morris, councilor Sam McKay, and community member Mark Anderson announced they would gladly go to jail in defense of the land and their treaty rights.
“I’m prepared to go to jail for my belief in the land,” said KI Chief Donny Morris. “This is a land issue based on our sovereignty and I’m prepared to give myself up if the court decides I’ve disrespected the November ruling to allow Platinex on our land…”
He is of course referring to the October 25 ruling that also found KI in contempt in court for escorting Platinex officials off the land a month earlier. In an ironic twist, the court said KI is obstructing the consultation process, and as a consequence, Platinex may now begin phase one of it’s drilling operation with or without KI’s approval.
That’s an impressive punishment, isn’t it? That Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (“The Peoples of the Big Lake where the Trout are found”) is forced to allow the molestation of their culture and livelihood because they moved to protect their land and end the court-ordered facade of consultation! I say “facade” simply because development is treated as imminent, and KI must allow it no matter what. They don’t have the right to say NO.
This is the belief of Canada, the Province, the Court, and Platinex. In fact it’s the current policy of Canada’s development industry.
KI, however, knows better… That’s why they opted out of the consultation process, why they now reaffirm their moratorium on mining exploration and forestry on their traditional territory, and why they’re now committed to defending their land, however peacefully.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday December 7, 2007
KI LEADERSHIP INVITE JAIL TIME UNTIL ABORIGINAL AND TREATY RIGHTS UPHELD AND FULFILLED
THUNDER BAY, ON: Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) Chief Donny Morris, councilor Sam McKay, and community member Mark Anderson today invited jail time in favour of Aboriginal and treaty rights to proper and adequate consultation and accommodation prior to exploration ordevelopment on KI traditional territory.
“I’m prepared to go to jail for my belief in the land,” said KI Chief Donny Morris. “This is a land issue based on our sovereignty and I’m prepared to give myself up if the court decides I’ve disrespected the November ruling to allow Platinex on our land. I’m prepared to acknowledge that.”Morris’s comments come after Thunder Bay Ontario Superior Court Justice Patrick Smith today accepted mining and exploration company Platinex Inc’s motion for contempt against KI. Justice Smith today found KI failed to abide by his October 25th order allowing Platinex to begin archaeological work and drilling on KI traditional land.
“KI community members have committed to non-violence, advising there will be a peaceful resistance by the community if Platinex enters the community without consent,” said KI councilor Sam McKay. “We do expect support from First Nation community members across Treaty 9territory – we ask they also respect this commitment of peaceful protest.”
In October 2007, KI withdrew from the court process that’s been ongoing since Platinex sued the fly-in community for $10 billion February 2006. At this time KI declared financial demise after almost two years of court proceedings to ensure the Crown’s (Government of Ontario) obligation with regard to consultation and accommodation is upheld as outlined in sec. 35 of the Canadian Constitution and former Supreme Court decisions, including Mikisew (2005). Negotiations have been ongoing since the Government of Ontario was ordered by Justice Smith July 2006 to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with KI and Platinex Inc. that would include Ontario’s obligation to consult with KI prior to development.
A 2001 community declared moratorium on exploration and development continues in KI traditional territory, pending resolution of a treaty land entitlement claim and fulfillment of the Government of Ontario’s legal obligation to consult and accommodate as mandated by the Supreme Court of Canada.
Justice Smith encouraged all parties to continue dialogue prior to his final disposition January 2008.
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For more information please contact Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug Councillor Sam McKay at (807)537 2263 or Jenna Young, Nishnawbe Aski Nation Director of Communications at (807) 625 4952.
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