NIPISSING FIRST NATION — Anishinabek Nation leaders and Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources have created a joint process to resolve issues of concern related to natural resource management.

A Letter of Intent outlining the process was signed today by Grand Council Chief John Beaucage, on behalf of 42 Anishinabek Nation communities, and Minister of Natural Resources David Ramsay.

“We are pleased this Ontario government understands the importance of working with First Nations on natural resource issues, which represent the link between our historic treaties and our future economic prosperity,” said Beaucage. “Since we first discussed this process, Minister Ramsay has endorsed co-operative and respectful dialogue when dealing with issues involving First Nation jurisdiction and aboriginal and treaty rights.”

“I am pleased to join Grand Chief Beaucage in signing this agreement, which will help address Anishinabek Nation concerns about natural resource issues,” said Ramsay. “By working together cooperatively, we can move forward on common priorities and seek mutually agreeable solutions.”

The process envisages a “solutions-based approach” that would revitalize the Anishinabek/Ontario Resource Management Council process that was established six years ago. The Council has a mandate to finalize a work plan within 120 days to begin addressing six priority issues: harvesting, the Great Lakes Charter Annex, resource benefit-sharing, incidental cabins, a forestry framework and enforcement.

The signing took place at the first annual Anishinabek/Ontario Leadership Forum, which brought together the four Anishinabek Regional Chiefs, as well as Elders, Women, and Youth council members, and senior staff of the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Under the agreement, an annual Leadership Forum would be held to monitor Resource Management Council progress and identify new priorities from emerging natural resource issues.

The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians (UOI) as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 42-member First Nations across Ontario . The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.

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