Matawa First Nations Community Driven Regional Strategy

Matawa Chiefs Council Make it Official Bob Rae to be First Nations’ Negotiator for Ring of Fire Negotiations

From Left to Right: Chief Johnny Yellowhead-Nibinamik First Nation, Chief Harry Papah-Eabametoong First Nation, Chief Cornelius Wabasse, Webequie First Nation, The Honorable Bob Rae, Chief Allan Towegishig-Long Lake #58, Chief Sonny Gagnon-Aroland First Nation, Chief Celia Echum-Ginoogaming First Nation, Chief Roger Wesley-Constance Lake First Nation, Chief Peter Moonias-Neskantaga First Nation

Thunder Bay, May 10, 2013

The Matawa Chiefs Council announced today that the Honourable Bob Rae, former federal leader of the Liberal Party and former Premier of Ontario, will be Chief Negotiator for Matawa First Nations during regional strategy negotiations with the Province of Ontario.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

The Chiefs met with Mr. Rae this week to talk about regional and local issues, and to discuss the next steps in regards to proposed negotiations with the Province. Mr. Rae will tour all of the Matawa First Nations over the next few months and meet with the community members.

Although there has been no official response to the Chiefs’ proposal for a regional strategy negotiation framework, which was presented to the Premier on March 6, 2013, the Chiefs are moving ahead to prepare for the negotiations. The Chiefs reiterate their call for both levels of government to ensure that EA processes in their traditional territories provide for full participation by First Nations in a culturally appropriate manner and in their native languages.

For more information contact:

Chief Sonny Gagnon, Aroland First Nations – Cell: (807) 620-7195
Band Office: (807) 329-5970

Chief Roger Wesely, Constance Lake First Nation– Cell: (705) 373-0419
Band Office: (705) 463-2222

Chief Harry Papah, Eabametoong First Nation– Cell: (807) 630-7096
Band Office: (807) 242-7221

Chief Celia Echum, Ginoogaming First Nation– Cell: (807) 854-8940
Band Office: (807) 876-2422

Chief Elijah oonias, Marten Falls First Nation– Cell: (807) 620-3297
Band Office: (807) 349-2509

Chief Peter Moonias, Neskantaga First Nation– Cell: (807) 621-3611
Band Office: (807) 479-2570

Chief Johnny Yellowhead, Nibinamik First Nation– Cell: (807) 630-6005
Band Office: (807) 593-2131

Chief Allan Towegishig, Long Lake #58 First Nation– Cell: (807) 987-3986
Band Office: (807) 876-2292

Chief Cornelius Wabasse, Webequie First Nation– Cell: (807) 621-1970
Band Office: (807) 353-5251

Anita Fraser, Matawa Communications Manager-Cell:(807) 621-1220
Office: (807) 346-3677

Grace Winter, Matawa Communications Officer- Office: (807) 346-6517


Matawa First Nations Management (MFNM) is a Tribal Council that provides advisory and support services to nine member First Nations in Northern Ontario.

Matawa Chiefs Council is comprised of the Chiefs from the nine member First Nations of MFNM.

Ring of Fire (ROF) is the name given to a mineral rich area situated in First Nation traditional territories around Northern Ontario. The proposed developments, Black Thor and Eagles Nest, are on the Muketi River. All nine Matawa member First Nations will be impacted by the ROF development and/or associated infrastructure. The First Nations have been pro-development since 1670 however they agree that First Nations must receive maximum benefits from resource development in their territories, and that the development must be sustainable, responsible, and undergo an appropriate environmental assessment.

Environmental Assessment Process
The Ring of Fire is located in one of the largest carbon sinks in the world next to the Amazon rainforest. The First Nations would like to understand more about this carbon sink and what it will do to the air if it is let to ruin. The current fast-track EA process will not allow the impacted First Nations to make a proactive stance.

For two years the First Nation Chiefs have been demanding that the EA process for the ROF be changed from the current Comprehensive Study EA., to a Joint Review Panel EA, or a negotiated EA process. The current process does not allow for proper consultation with First Nations, has an inappropriate timeline, does not consider the accumulated impacts of more than one mine, and is mostly a paper driven process.

The proposed infrastructure for the Cliffs Chromite project will cross 100 bodies of water and 4 major rivers in a sensitive ecosystem located in the James Bay Lowlands. The Lowlands are part of the Boreal Forest, which contains the largest series of intact wetlands in the world and sequester 25 years of the world’s carbon emissions.

Judicial Review
Several Matawa First Nations filed a Judicial Review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s decision to use the Comprehensive Study. Earlier this year Cliffs and the Government of Canada lost a motion to have Matawa evidence kept out of the court proceeding. The Adjudicator, in her decision, also directed that the Judicial Review be fast tracked citing that the motions had delayed the proceedings. A decision is expected by the fall of 2013.



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