Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy issued “formal notice” to government and resource developers in late July that First Nations intend to assert their inherent and treaty rights on their traditional lands in Ontario.
In a news release, Beardy delivered his Notice of Assertions on the steps of the Ontario legislature with support from leadership from across Northern Ontario.
“The purpose of the Notice is to assert that these treaties still govern the relationship between the Crown and First Nations,” said Beardy.
“This Notice does not lay out an exhaustive list of rights; rather, it sets forward several principles and understandings related to lands and resources. It is based upon the Treaties and Covenant Chains established with the Crown which were made between sovereign independent nations.”
Beardy those rights are re-affirmed by Section 35 of the Constitution of Canada and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The proclamation comes on the heels of a recent decision by the Supreme Court of Canada that dismissed the Keewatin appeal. First Nations in northwestern Ontario contested whether the province had the right to issue forestry licences without involvement by Ottawa. The court ruled the province has jurisdictional right to “take up” lands in Treaty 3 under the Constitution and
At the time of the ruling, Beardy responded that the high court had “trampled” on indigenous laws and treaties by backing the right of the provincial government to issue forestry licences on a long-disputed area of First Nation traditional land in northwestern Ontario.