Friday, July 25, 2014
Text Size

Communications breakdown is a 'Systemic issue'

By Matt Vis,

When it comes to natural resources, First Nations and other levels of governments are suffering from a communication breakdown.

That has been made quite clear to Fort William First Nation chief Georjann Morriseau during the First Nation’s often difficult and tenuous struggle with Horizon Wind Inc. regarding the proposed Big Thunder Wind Park.

Addressing the judicial review recently filed by Fort William First Nation against multiple provincial ministries, Morriseau said similar issues are taking place across the country and they are only going to get worse if no action is taken.

“Over the course of the last few years it’s been a constant battle with our First Nations people trying to assert their rights and their jurisdictions on their own natural resources. Trying to sit at those tables and negotiate as equals has been like pulling teeth,” Morriseau said from her office on Monday.

“It’s a systemic issue and the same issues with Horizon are relevant to First Nations in the Ring of Fire or other First Nations who are battling with proponents coming into their territory. .. it’s something that’s going to come to a head if we don’t do something about it.”

The first step, she says, is acknowledging the legal significance of agreements, such as the Robinson Superior Treaty, and the rights they gives First Nations to assert jurisdiction on the land.

There shouldn’t be a need for judicial reviews when dealing with legal precedents that have been in place since 1850, she added.

The First Nation announced earlier this month they were filing a judicial review against the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, stating the province has the sole responsibility to consult with them and failed to do so when Horizon Wind’s Renewable Energy Approval was accepted.

They are asking for Horizon to stop all work on the project.

The First Nation claims Crown correspondence has indicated there will be no consultation with communities on the lease of undeveloped land before approving them for development.

According to a letter from Ministry of the Environment’s environmental approval branch manager Ian Parrott to Fort William First Nation’s lawyer Chantelle Bryson, there has been adequate consultation.

“As such we cannot agree that consultation with Fort William First Nation has never happened or that it is only now commencing,” the letter reads.

Earlier this month Horizon community and public affairs director Kathleen MacKenzie said the company feels its has met its obligation to consult and the 16-turbine project is in the technical review phase.

There is no work being currently done at the site.

The chief says there has been no consultation with Horizon or the government since meetings held in November.

The review is pending.

Whatever Trevor

Dis is Trevor.

Blast from the past: FP archive

When is Consultation, Consultation?

Write comment (10 Comments)

Ovide Mercredi

National Chief – AFN

During a Treaty Roundtable meeting of the Alberta Chiefs, I took note of a federal government document outlining their strategy to define and ultimately impose their own form of self-government. Read more...

Letting go of residential schools

Write comment (7 Comments)

by Gilbert Oskaboose, Nov 1993 First Perspective

There is a lot of "unfinished business" in Indian Country. Garbage that we as a people have never really dealt with. Chief among them is the whole issue of those infamous residential schools and their impact on people. Read more...


obidiah picture

ANALYSIS - Bill Gallagher

gallagher picture

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit


July 2014
29 30 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31 1 2
Fri Jun 27 @12:00AM
Adäka Cultural Festival
Wed Jul 23 @ 9:00AM - 05:00PM
Asinabka Film Media Arts Festival
Sun Jul 27 @12:00AM
World Indigenous Business Forum 2014

Current Video

RIP Percy Tuesday

Write comment (1 Comment)


Thanks to Althea Guiboche for allowing The First Perspective to share her video taken at the Manitowapow book launch at McNally Robinson. 

Percey sings Freddy Fender's "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" and people join in to harmonize. 

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO): The Washington Redskins

Write comment (0 Comments)