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Ontario and Matawa Member First Nations Celebrate Historic Framework for Negotiations on the Ring of Fire

Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Matawa member First Nation Chiefs were in Thunder Bay today, where they joined Matawa community members, to officially celebrate the recent signing of a landmark regional framework agreement to develop the Ring of Fire.

The Regional Framework Agreement is a first step in the historic, community-based negotiation process that will bring together the nine First Nations and the Province of Ontario to discuss and negotiate an approach for development in the First Nations’ traditional territories. The process will help ensure that First Nations participate in, and benefit from, Ring of Fire developments.

The agreement ensures First Nations and Ontario can work together on resource development opportunities. That includes: long-term, regional environmental monitoring; enhanced participation in environmental assessment processes; resource revenue sharing; social and economic supports; and regional and community infrastructure.

In attendance at the ceremony were Chief Sonny Gagnon of Aroland First Nation, Chief Fred Sackaney of Constance Lake First Nation, Chief Elizabeth Atlookan of Eabametoong First Nation, Chief Celia Echum of Ginoogaming First Nation, Chief Allen Towegishig of Long Lake #58 First Nation, Chief Elijah K. Moonias of Marten Falls First Nation, Chief Peter Moonias of Neskantaga First Nation, Chief Johnny Yellowhead of Nibinamik First Nation, and Chief Cornelius Wabasse of Webequie First Nation.

Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines, David Zimmer, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, and Bill Mauro, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, were also at the celebration to unveil the framework agreement, alongside Chief Georjann Morriseau of Fort William First Nation, Bob Rae, Matawa negotiator and former Premier of Ontario, and Frank Iacobucci, Ontario’s negotiator and former Supreme Court of Canada judge.

The event included First Nation traditional ceremonies, a commemorative signing ceremony with Premier Wynne, and an exchange of gifts.

Investing in the development of the Ring of Fire is part of Ontario’s economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow. The comprehensive plan and its six priorities focus on Ontario’s greatest strengths — its people and strategic partnerships. The Regional Negotiation Process with the nine First Nations is a very significant part of that plan.

Matawa Chiefs Council is comprised of the nine Chiefs from the Matawa member First Nations. The First Nations are located in Northern Ontario. Five of the communities are only accessible by air or winter road. Four of the First Nations are drive-in communities. The Aboriginal languages of The Peoples are dialects of Ojibway, Oji-Cree and Cree. Eight of the nine communities are beneficiaries to The James Bay Treaty, Treaty No. 9. Long Lake #58 First Nation lies within the boundaries of the Robinson Superior Treaty of 1850, but was a signing location for Treaty No. 9. All nine First Nations will be impacted by resource development in the area known as the Ring of Fire.

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