NAN and KI press release ...Â
THUNDER BAY, ON - December 7, 2007: Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) Chief Donny Morris, councilor Sam McKay, and community member Mark Anderson today invited jail time in favour of Aboriginal and treaty rights to proper and adequate consultation and accommodation prior to exploration or development on KI traditional territory.
â€śIâ€™m prepared to go to jail for my belief in the land,â€ť said KI Chief Donny Morris. â€śThis is a land issue based on our sovereignty and Iâ€™m prepared to give myself up if the court decides Iâ€™ve disrespected the November ruling to allow Platinex on our land. Iâ€™m prepared to acknowledge that.â€ť
Morrisâ€™s comments come after Thunder Bay Ontario Superior Court Justice Patrick Smith today accepted mining and exploration company Platinex Incâ€™s motion for contempt against KI. Justice Smith today found KI failed to abide by his October 25th order allowing Platinex to begin archaeological work and drilling on KI traditional land.
â€śKI community members have committed to non-violence, advising there will be a peaceful resistance by the community if Platinex enters the community without consent,â€ť said KI councilor Sam McKay. â€śWe do expect support from First Nation community members across Treaty 9 territory â€“ we ask they also respect this commitment of peaceful protest.â€ť
In October 2007, KI withdrew from the court process thatâ€™s been ongoing since Platinex sued the fly-in community for $10 billion February 2006. At this time KI declared financial demise after almost two years of court proceedings to ensure the Crownâ€™s (Government of Ontario) obligation with regard to consultation and accommodation is upheld as outlined in sec. 35 of the Canadian Constitution and former Supreme Court decisions, including Mikisew (2005). Negotiations have been ongoing since the Government of Ontario was ordered by Justice Smith July 2006 to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with KI and Platinex Inc. that would include Ontarioâ€™s obligation to consult with KI prior to development.
A 2001 community declared moratorium on exploration and development continues in KI traditional territory, pending resolution of a treaty land entitlement claim and fulfillment of the Government of Ontarioâ€™s legal obligation to consult and accommodate as mandated by the Supreme Court of Canada.
Justice Smith encouraged all parties to continue dialogue prior to his final disposition January 2008.
For more information please contact Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug Councillor Sam McKay at (807)537 2263 or Jenna Young, Nishnawbe Aski Nation Director of Communications at (807) 625 4952.