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Forestry company, First Nation renew partnership agreement

Resolute Forest Products, Lac des Mille Lacs have collaborated for nearly 25 years
Resolute Forest Products announced a donation of $25,000 to the Lac des Mille Lacs Education Centre upon the renewal of its long-term partnership with the community.

Resolute Forest Products and Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation have renewed their commitment to partner on forest management and land use planning in Treaty 3 territory in northwestern Ontario.

A working relationship between the forestry company and the Indigenous community has been in effect for nearly 25 years.

In addition to forest management and land use planning, Lac des Mille Lacs “plays an active role in local citizen committees, providing valuable input and expertise on matters related to local development and commercial enterprise,” Resolute said.

In northwestern Ontario, the forester owns and operates sawmills in Atikokan, Ignace and Thunder Bay, along with a pulp and paper mill in Thunder Bay.

A number of provincial forest units managed by Resolute fall within or adjacent to the territorial lands of Lac des Mille Lacs, which are located about 175 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay.

To celebrate the agreement's renewal, the company announced it’s contributing $25,000 to the Lac des Mille Lacs Education Centre in Thunder Bay.

The multicultural school, which opened in 2019, provides experiential, land-based learning for students in preschool and high school.

“We recognize the importance of Indigenous-led educational programming, with their potential to revitalize communities and create lasting positive effects in students’ lives,” said Remi G. Lalonde, president and chief executive officer of Resolute, in a company statement.

“The contribution by Resolute will support curriculum development, including natural resources programming with a focus on experiential learning, Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe language instruction), and our hockey program,” Lac des Mille Lacs Chief Whitecloud said in the statement.

The company said it’s committed to “supporting and maintaining constructive relationships with First Nations and other Indigenous communities in its operating regions in Canada.”

In 2013,  Resolute developed an Indigenous Peoples Policy, which outlines steps to ensure that Indigenous communities are consulted in decisions impacting their communities, and that they benefit from economic prosperity through forestry operations.

Resolute said it currently has relationships and business partnerships with close to 40 Indigenous communities and organizations.