NAN Press Release
NISHNAWBE ASKI NATION BILLS PROVINCE $127-MILLION FOR BENEFITS DERIVED FROM RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT CALLING IT A HISTORIC SWINDLE
TORONTO, ON - June 26, 2012: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy presented the Ontario government today with an invoice for $127-million for benefits derived from natural resources extracted from Nishnawbe Aski Nation territories. The annual billing invoice is calculated over 100 years at current day values and represents only a portion of the $32 billion owed.
A NAN Chiefs Resolution was passed in May 2012 where the Chiefs authorized NAN to set up a negotiation committee with a clear mandate to negotiate a resource-revenue sharing agreement on behalf of all NAN First Nations.
"Due to impending developments within the NAN territory, our Chiefs are responding by doing more than monitoring the situation, they are taking action," said Grand Chief Stan Beardy. "We commissioned a report that focused on resource revenue for the past 100 years and quantified it for the NAN region."
The report produced by Dr. Fred Lazar of the Schulich School of Business was commissioned in December 2011. The report relied on data from the Chiefs of Ontario Revenue Sharing Report, the Public Accounts of Ontario and various resources quantified for the NAN Region.
"My understanding of Treaties 5 and 9 is that all revenues generated from the lands covered by these treaties were to be shared - there was no surrender involved," said Dr. Lazar. "The NAN First Nations have never been given their share, nor has the province ever offered the compensation owing or has offered to sit down with the NAN First Nations Chiefs to negotiate a revenue sharing agreement, an agreement that is over a century overdue."
There are three revenue streams owing to NAN: past due accounts for lost revenues from 1911 to 2011; current annual revenues based on annual resources collected by the Government of Ontario; and future incremental annual revenues based on new resource projects.
"The amounts should not be alarming and outrageous but are based on actual present day values," said Deputy Grand Chief Les Louttit. "Over the course of 100 years since the James Bay Treaty was signed, where we agreed to share the land and its resources, our share of the government of Ontario's revenues collected from resources on our lands amounts to well to over $32 billion. We are just here to drop off the invoice for the annuity on this amount and this represents only partial payment."
In a recent letter addressed to the federal government the Ontario Premier asked the federal government to invest in Ontario, particularly the region known as the Ring of Fire located within NAN territory. The Premier suggested a tripartite process but there was no mention of revenue sharing, only vague mentions of jobs and spin-off benefits.
"Before we move forward with any new partnerships, we have some outstanding debts owed to us," said Beardy. "We are sending a strong message to the province that we would rather hand over the dignity of the struggle than to sign a deal our people cannot live with. They were signatories on the James Bay Treaty which outlined a sharing component for land and resources. They have broken the Treaty promises. We owe it to our future generations that we don't have another historic swindle on our hands."
Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political territorial organization representing 49 First Nation communities in James Bay Treaty No. 9 and Ontario portions of Treaty No. 5 - an area covering two thirds of the province of Ontario in Canada.
For more information please contact: Jamie Monastyrski, A/Director of Communications - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (807) 625-4978 or cell (807) 630-7087 email email@example.com