PETITION: Canada — Don’t smother the Breathing Lands

At the end of 2021, RAVEN launched a new campaign to support Neskantaga Nation’s Free, Prior and Informed Consent in the “Ring of Fire.” With your amazing help, we have raised $84,000 for their legal challenge. Now, we’ve teamed up with Mining Watch Canada  to launch a petition that we hope you will sign, share, and amplify. 

The Canadian government has its eyes set on opening northern Ontario to mining development. Despite promises to include affected First Nations, the government has already launched the #RingOfFire Regional Assessment without their participation.

Support the Chiefs of Neskantaga, Eabametoong, Fort Albany, Kashechewan and Attawapiskat First Nations in their call to federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault: Restart the assessment with a commitment to a process that is “mutually and equally co-developed and co-led and co-enforced” by First Nations! 

Here’s the details: mining companies are lining up to develop the Ring of Fire, in a globally significant wetland known as the James Bay Lowlands — territory the Neskantaga and other Indigenous Nations call “the Breathing Lands”. The James Bay Lowlands stand as one of the world’s greatest carbon storehouses, a vital defence against climate collapse. By strategically pairing this petition with legal action, Neskantaga Nation is courageously standing up for its lands and lifeways: both legally and politically.

Right now, the federal government is considering access road proposals, while the Ontario government is rushing through a slew of road-building and mineral exploration permits. This race to mine comes despite Indigenous Nation’s calls for a moratorium on all mining-related permitting and development until protection plans for the region’s sensitive wetlands and watersheds are in place. Communities — like Neskantaga — on boil-water advisories are also demanding access to clean water, housing, and health services.

Despite assuring First Nations that they would have meaningful involvement at all stages of the assessment, including planning, Canada has negotiated draft Terms of Reference with the Ontario without any Indigenous participation.

Join Chiefs of Neskantaga, Eabametoong, Fort Albany, Kashechewan and Attawapiskat  in calling on government to restart the Ring of Fire consultation process with a commitment to a process that is “mutually and equally co-developed and co-led and co-enforced” by First Nations. 

The proposed chromite, nickel, copper and platinum mines would be in operation for 100 years. That would impact First Nation’s ability to continue to govern, perform ceremony, and derive sustenance from the lands and waters as guaranteed in Treaty 9. With the stakes so high for Indigenous Peoples, in an era of reconciliation: what’s the rush?

The First Nations are calling for “Indigenous leadership of a robust investigation and decision making process for what can and should happen with the Breathing Lands, including the Ring of Fire.” Stand with them. 

Call on Minister Guilbeault to act now to rectify this situation: to retract the draft Terms of Reference and to restart the process with a commitment to a process that is mutually and equally co-developed and co-led and co-enforced by First Nations. 

Ask Minister Guilbeault to act now to rectify this situation: retract the draft Terms of Reference and restart the process with a commitment to a process that is mutually and equally co-developed, co-led, and co-enforced by First Nations.

Thank you for taking a stand for Indigenous rights, and future generations. 

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