The Serpent River First Nation (SRFN) council has agreed to work together with Elliot Lake council on economic and land use development issues, according to Chief Elaine Johnston.
“Serpent River First Nation council unanimously passed a motion last evening to work with Elliot Lake Council as per their motion passed on June 11 regarding the cottage lots. We feel it is a positive movement forward towards reconciliation,” the chief told ElliotLakeToday.
“We are asking for a presentation from Elliot Lake council regarding their proposal so that we have a better understanding of the contents and have a dialogue about how best to move forward.”
During a June 18 meeting, Elliot Lake council unanimously endorsed a motion to contact SRFN council requesting a plan for a closer and equal working relationship between the neighbouring municipalities.
Elliot Lake is located within SRFN traditional territory covered under the Robinson-Huron Treaty.
Elliot Lake Mayor Dan Marchisella said the endorsement by SRFN council is a step to overcoming past differences and working together on development.
“Looks like the beginning of a beautiful future together,” he told ElliotLakeToday.
Johnston said council wants feedback from its SRFN residents on what they would like to see in a formal working relationship with Elliot Lake.
“Many of our people go to school, go to the hospital, shop in Elliot Lake, participate in recreational activities and some live in Elliot Lake. Many of our ancestors lived on the land in Elliot Lake and in the area. We trapped, hunted, fished, gathered berries and medicine in the area along with holding spiritual ceremonies," she said.
"So we have a connection to the land and waters of the area and a responsibility to be good stewards of the land and water while pursuing economic opportunities that are beneficial to both communities and our people."
SRFN representatives were in the city on June 21 for a special flag-raising ceremony to mark Indigenous Peoples Day at the Elliot Lake Miner’s Memorial.
“We appreciate the recognition and look forward to our working together for the benefit of both of our communities,” Johnston said.
She also took the opportunity to thank the city for the additional welcome on the city welcome sign.
“We also appreciate Elliot Lake's welcome sign with our Ojibway greeting of 'Ahnii' within the sign to welcome people to the community," she said. "These are all positive signs of good will by the council and people of Elliot Lake. Miigwetch. Thank you for the willingness to work together."