GULL BAY FIRST NATION BLOCKADE IS “TRADITIONAL GATHERING” – DAY 5

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(GULL BAY FIRST NATION, ON) – Chief of Gull Bay First Nation, Wilfred King, issued mutliple media releases today, one in which he denies there was any activty on Fensom Lake Road. King states that the current occupation of the land will go on for an undetermined amount of time.

Both media releases are below:

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INHERENT RIGHT TO LAND ACCESS: SOVEREIGNTY ASSERTION ACTIVITY – DAY 5

This morning at 10:00 am, Chief Wilfred King and the Council of Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek – Gull Bay First Nation (KZA-GBFN) will meet again with North American Palladium/Lac des illes (NAP/LDI) mining executives Jim Gallagher, President and CEO, and Wayne Scott, VP Human Resources, Aboriginal Affairs & Environment, after talks broke off on Friday to end what media sources are defining as a road blockade and a protest.

“It was somewhat of a surprise to us that at the end of Friday morning’s discussion and after only quickly meeting three times over two days, Jim Gallagher offered Monday/today as the next available opportunity to speak further on the intentions of both parties to address our collective issues and move forward in building a more meaningful relationship.”, said, King.

“We were completely prepared to continue to meet later that same day and throughout the weekend, and remained hopeful that as time progressed, he would have reconsidered the value of pressing onward with a greater sense of urgency to the benefit of the mine’s operational requirements. I respect that there was reason behind his logic and I am hopeful that today’s talks are as positive as those to which we were engaged in prior to the break.”

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Chief King contacted Minister of Northern Development & Mines Michael Gravelle on Thursday to join both parties in the discussions but Gravelle cited that he was unable to do so during the election writ period. At the Chief’s request, Min. Gravelle reached out to Deputy Minister David De Launay who is set to arrive from Toronto early this morning and be onsite at noon today. He will be accompanied by the Assistant Deputy Minister of Mines Christine Kaszycki.

“Contrary to what has been reported by the media and on social websites, KZA-GBFN has not slowed or blocked traffic on Highway 527 nor have we set up any barricades on the decommissioned logging road known as Fensom Road 690 located on Crown land. We have advised mining staff and associated vendors/visitors who are stopped at our gathering place that there are three routes in total to access the site and we are only located on one of them.”

As a show of good faith towards continuing discussions, KZA-GBFN agreed on Thursday to permit food, medical supplies and mine rescue vehicles through the event area, but since Friday morning, LDI management were advising vehicular traffic to use FEnsom Road, KZA-GBFN witnessed LDI staff, vendors and fuel/food services trucks utilizing access via Fensom.

Also, KZA-GBFN has appropriately advised Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry and permitted entrance by their staff to the Rinker Lake forward firefighting attack base which is located in close proximity to the Nation’s roadway encampment assuring that it remains accessible to the Thunder Bay Forest Rangers in the best interest of health and safety.

Chief King says that he has had no interference from policing authorities since the event began on Thursday morning and that there has been only one vehicle which presented somewhat challenging circumstances in their attempt to disrupt his Nation’s land occupation gathering.

He relays that OPP officers have been on site throughout the course of events and have been witnesses to the peaceful activities that KZA-GBFN Citizens have been participating. These have included land-based/subsistence resource undertakings, group discussions surrounding self-determination, and other such teachable moments around the fire when information relative to the differences between Inherent Rights, Constitutionally protected Aboriginal Rights and Rights associated with the Robinson-Superior Treaty were shared.

Chief King goes on to reiterate that his Council and Citizens of the sovereign Nation of KZA-GBFN will continue to exercise their Inherent Rights to their Territory, which assumes their ability to govern land use, environmental monitoring and resource management in a responsible manner for seven generations into the future.

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Chief King goes on”Over the past several years, we have attempted to engage LDI executives as to the requirement of and usefulness in the establishment of meaningful consultation protocols between the two parties. Time and time again we have sat across the table from mining executives and have conceded on our own requests as not to operationally hinder their attempts of business recovery. To date, we have obtained a ‘Letter of Mutual Respect and Understanding’ that has sadly proven to demonstrate that LDI respects only its own financial bottom line and understands, to the point of reliance, that the Crown will seemingly do nothing to prevent the continued infringements of KZA-GBFN Rights”

“We have experienced first hand the negative impacts of area mining activities that have been historically carried out with little regard for, and in violation of, our rights – as the Indigenous peoples on whose Territory LDI is located. We will not permit our Territory to be further impacted. I will not permit the further infringement to my Nation’s Rights or allow industries that conduct business in our Territory to potentially jeopardize the natural environment and state of the land. For Seven Generations to come, I am responsible to and accountable for assuring their safety, health, well-being and sustained longevity of KZA-GBFN as a People.” says King.

“When a community/nation has access to its own resources and wealth from its lands, all other issues such as health, housing, education, etc., become ‘non-issues’ as KZA – Gull Bay First Nation would then control an extensive sum of revenue – generated from our Territory. For KZA-GBFN, the reality of self-government over our Land is the difference between dependency and prosperity.”

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Second media release below these photos:

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TRAFFIC ADVISORY AS TRADITIONAL GATHERING NEAR LAC DES ILES COMMENCES

“The Chief, Council and Citizens of the Sovereign Nation of Kiashke Zaaging Anbishinaabek – Gull Bay First Nation (KZA-GBFN) serve notice that we continue to exercise our inherent Rights to our territory,”states Chief Wilfred King.

King goes further, “As such, let this communication serve to inform all parties that the Citizens of KZA-GBFN have planned to engage in Traditional teaching and experiential activities today. These events may potentially inconvenience traffic located in our southern Territory around the Lac des iles mine area for an undetermined amount of time.”

Although some may find the conditions that the gathering itself may present as somewhat of a nuisance, King outlines that the practice of his  Nation’s Inherent Rights regarding land use, environmental monitoring and resource management are the sacred obligations of his Citizens in their role as Stewarts of the Land.

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“It is our sincere hope that any potential annoyance or irritation that could possibly be felt because of this gathering of our Citizens may ultimately be recognized and appreciated as one of our cultural facilitation methods to emphasize the significance of associated traditional teachings through land-based experiences.”

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Chief King says that he expects no interference from policing authorities during this cultural practise gathering. He relays that a First Nation staffer advised an OPP official on Wednesday evening the GBFN Police officers would be more than welcome to attend the gathering and would also be encouraged to report their findings back to the provincial force. The Ontario Provincial Police have seen their role within KZA-GBFN’s Territory as somewhat diminished after a November 2017 Band Council Resolution was delivered to Min. Marie-France Lalonde (Community Safety & Correctional Services) which directed for their removal as reports of Rights infringement contrary to Ipperwash Inquiry recommendations were received.

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“The Assurances of the personal safety of our Citizens who will be congregating to participate in this peaceful and legitimate gathering, as well as the meticulous planning for the well-being of the visitors to our Territory, were paramount in the organization of this Traditional activity. We ask that all persons, including the police, respect our Rights as we exercise our continued use and occupation of our Lands while also practising our culture and customs. These are our Inherent Rights that we have practised and enjoyed since time immemorial.” King said.

Source: Gull Bay First Nation Media Release

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