Treaty 9 First Nation seeks injunction to stop mining exploration, protect sacred area | CBC News

As the mining industry heats up in northwestern Ontario, a First Nation in Treaty 9 territory has applied for an injunction to pause mineral exploration and offer protection to a sacred bid within their outdated territory.

Ginoogaming First Nation in Ontario is in search of to offer protection to a sacred bid in its outdated territory and place a factual precedent in Canada that First Countries contain the inherent and treaty horny to completely offer protection to sacred areas. (Belenos / Shutterstock)

As the mining industry heats up in northwestern Ontario, a First Nation in Treaty 9 territory has applied for an injunction to pause mineral exploration and offer protection to a sacred bid within their outdated territory.

It be a case that some direct would function a precedent in Canada, setting up the inherent and treaty horny of First Countries to offer protection to sacred areas.

Ginoogaming First Nation considers Wiisinin Zaahgi’igan, an bid of land roughly 360 sq. kilometres in dimension positioned about 300 kilometres northeast of Dispute Bay, its “breadbasket, its church, its heartland, its graveyard and its smartly being facility,” in accordance with documents filed by their lawyers.

Since time immemorial, the of us of Ginoogaming contain hunted, gathered, performed ceremony, buried ancestors and healed within the territory; but mining exploration activities threaten the bid, said Victor Chapais, a councillor and ragged chief of Ginoogaming.

“If somebody is available in and destroys Wiisinin Zaahgi’igan, it will never be the identical. There’ll repeatedly be wound to it — wound to Mom Earth — and those are the vogue of issues that we’re making an attempt to offer protection to,” Chapais told CBC News in an interview.

The injunction, filed with the Ontario Reliable Court of Justice, seeks to pause two companies from conducting mineral exploration activities in Wiisinin Zaahgi’igan, and argues the province failed in its constitutional accountability to hunt the recommendation of and accommodate.

The application for injunction comes as Ginoogaming continues negotiations with the federal and provincial governments about the scale of their reserve, below the treaty land entitlement (TLE) job.

‘No one ever told us’

Nevertheless the province and as a minimal one firm named within the injunction contain hit lend a hand, arguing it is the First Nation that has no longer participated meaningfully in session processes, in accordance with written submissions.

“Within the 40 years I have been here, no one ever told us that where we were working on our claims used to be a sacred bid,” said Michael Malouf, president of Hardrock Extension Inc., one of the companies named by Ginoogaming’s application for injunction.

The firm has a permit to behavior mineral exploration in a property shut to Greenstone, about 24 kilometres lengthy by three kilometres huge, with about one-third of that property within the Wiisinin Zaahgi’igan sacred bid, Malouf told CBC News in an interview.

Malouf said he’s invested roughly $7 million into exploring the property over quite loads of decades and believes there can even “theoretically” be as much as 64 million oz of gold within the bid.

“If the injunction is granted, we acquired’t be able to beget any work on the property unless their [TLE] court case is resolved. Nevertheless the realm is these Aboriginal lawsuits can protect years, even decades to be resolved.”

If somebody is available in and destroys Wiisinin Zaahgi’igan, it will never be the identical.– Victor Chapais, ragged chief and original councillor for Ginoogaming First Nation

Requested what’s at stake if the injunction is granted, Malouf said: “it will likely be a accurate detriment to exploration in Ontario because there’ll be no security of tenure. The contract you contain with the Mining Act of Ontario acquired’t elevate any weight.”

Malouf purchased an exploration permit for the bid in June 2019, and it used to be no longer unless after the permit used to be granted that Ginoogaming First Nation raised objections, in accordance with written submissions from the Crown’s lawyers. 

The province had beforehand despatched four letters to Ginoogaming over the direction of a 300 and sixty five days providing spy of Malouf’s application for the permit, and did no longer receive a response to any of the letters, in accordance with the submissions.

The documents add that provincial regulators sought more records about the sacred bid from the First Nation and looked to address doable impacts, but Ginoogaming “told Ontario that no mineral exploration can even happen in [Wiisinin Zaahgi’igan].”

Doubtlessly precedent-setting case: lawyer

Nevertheless in accordance with factual documents filed by lawyers for Ginoogaming, the First Nation said it had told the Ontario executive “many conditions” about the favor to offer protection to Wiisinin Zaahgi’igan, since as a minimal 2015, and did no longer be taught about the exploration permit animated the sacred bid unless it used to be already granted to Hardrock Extension in 2019.

Kate Kempton, a accomplice with OKT Law and lawyer for Ginoogaming, said in an interview that the First Nation has been making an attempt for years to pause industrial activities from going on and inflicting wound to the sacred bid.

Kate Kempton, a accomplice with Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP and the lawyer representing Ginoogaming First Nation, says the Ontario executive must address First Countries as equal treaty companions or they’re going to proceed to face an onslaught of lawsuits. (

Sooner than that, the legacy of residential faculties and other colonial policies designed to eradicate Indigenous languages and cultures pushed First Countries to camouflage their outdated records and practices, she added.

“They were timid of being abused and beaten up and worse when sharing records about the facts of their very own culture,” she said. “Simplest nowadays, the last per chance 10 or 15 years, contain First Countries began to in actuality change into more vocal about the facts of their culture and birth about it.”

Kempton blames the Ontario executive for inflicting the conditions that ended in Ginoogaming’s application for an injunction and the resulting factual case. 

She said First Countries contain inherent rights, in accordance with their occupation of lands lengthy outdated to settlers arrived to North The US, and treaty rights, below Treaty 9, to offer protection to burial grounds and sacred areas. By granting the permit, Ontario breached the Crown’s honour and its constitutional accountability to hunt the recommendation of.

On the opposite hand, Kempton added there’ll not be one of these thing as a factual precedent setting up whether or no longer First Countries contain the horny to offer protection to sacred areas and develop sacred practices within the bid.

Identical cases, esteem the Supreme Court dedication in 2017 about a sacred bid in Ktunaxa outdated territory in B.C., either relied on a host of factual arguments or were argued below a host of treaties.

“This steadily is the first case of its sort in Canada,” she said.

The application for injunction used to be heard earlier in June, and events fascinated with the case direct they hope the presiding justice comes lend a hand with a dedication within the next month.

9: 36Logan Turner: Ginnogaming Injunction

As the mining industry within the Greenstone bid heats up .. one First Nation has long past to court to offer protection to lands they suspect sacred. 9: 36

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