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by Nishnawbe Aski Nation

Tuesday October 19, 2010 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


First Nation leadership in central and eastern Canada have come together to dismiss a meeting taking place this week in Prince George, British Columbia, which is being hailed as a national meeting to discuss the management and protection of the Boreal forest in Canada.
Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Grand Chief David Harper, Algonquin Nation Secretariat (ANS) Grand Chief Norman Young, stated today that the meeting being held in Prince George, British Columbia by the First Nations Energy and Mining Council (FNEMC) and the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council (CSTC) on October 19-21, 2010, is not reflective of a national meeting nor’ will the outcome reflect a national position of First Nations regarding the

Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA) recently signed between environmental groups and forest companies.
"Any agreement that directly affects NAN homelands should only be between those First Nations and the Crown. The CBFA disrespects our rights and was developed without our consent," said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy. The NAN Chiefs-in-Assembly unanimously, passed a resolution in April 2010 declaring that consent is required for any and all policies and development that affect NAN territory. "The meeting this week in Prince George, B.C., is a backdoor approach to coming up with a national First Nations strategy regarding the CBFA as there was no consensus that the meeting was a good idea. If we are going to be discussing our role in the management and protection of the Boreal region, it will be outside any agreements such as the CBFA."

MKO Grand Chief David Harper said, "The CFBA is yet another blatant disregard of treaty rights. The loss of forest jobs will have a huge impact on our communities. Greenpeace almost destroyed our fur trade, now they and other groups and a U.S.-based foundation are telling us how to make a livelihood on our own land with our own resources? We are working for sustainable development too, if they look at the facts, our woodland caribou are already protected by our Customary Laws we use in our territories and through our community-based land use planning initiatives. The 30 MKO First Nations call on the National Chief to hold a national meeting on the future of our forests".

ANS Grand Chief Norman Young stated, "The CBFA is a trade-off agreement between certain environmental groups and members of the Forest Products Association of Canada about forestry and land-use issues related to climate change. First Nations were deliberately excluded from the negotiations and signing of the CBFA. Our Algonquin First Nation members will not be bound by any of the terms of the CBFA in our deliberations regarding forest planning & management issues with provincial and/or federal governments, or with third parties, such as forestry companies or environmental groups. We were not even invited to the meeting in Prince George, British Columbia, even though our Aboriginal Title Territory includes part of the boreal forest. As such, we view the meeting in Prince George, B.C., as merely a regional meeting, not a national meeting. We are calling on the AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo to work with First Nations across Canada to organize a truly national meeting on forestry issues related to climate change, including a discussion of the CBFA."


Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political territorial organization representing 49 First Nation communities in James Bay Treaty 9 and Ontario portions of Treaty 5 – an area covering two thirds of the province of Ontario.

The Algonquin Nation Secretariat is a Tribal Council and is the political arm of the Algonquin Nation Tribal Council, which represents the Algonquin First Nations of Timiskaming and Wolf Lake. These two Algonquin First Nations assert Aboriginal Title and Rights to a territory located in the West side of the Ottawa River Watershed in what is now known as Quebec and Ontario.

The Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, Inc. is a non-profit, political advocacy organization that has represented the 30 First Nation communities in Manitoba’s North since 1981. The MKO First Nations have entered into Treaty 4, Treaty 5, Treaty 6 and Treaty 10. The combined traditional territories of the MKO First Nations covers three quarters of the province of Manitoba as well as portions of Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Ontario.


For more information please contact:

Amy Harris, A/Director of Communications – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (807) 625 4906 or (807) 252-2806 mobile or by email
Grand Chief Norman Young, Algonquin Nation Secretariat (819) 723-2019 office or by cell (819) 627-6869

Michael Anderson, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, (204) 794-4312

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