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First Nations looking at energy project opportunities

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OJIBWAYS OF GARDEN RIVER FIRST NATION – Anishinabek Nation Chiefs in Assembly passed an important resolution Nov. 24 giving the Union of Ontario Indians a strong mandate to advocate and support Anishinabek First Nations as builders and operators of transmission lines.

“We have to take advantage of every opportunity that comes our way,” says Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee.

“The Green Energy Act and the required expansion of Ontario’s transmission network present significant opportunities for First Nations,” said Isadore Day, Lake Huron regional chief and Serpent River chief. “Treaty, land rights and jurisdiction of First Nations in the Anishinabek Nation must be respected and form the basis of any energy or related infrastructure development within our territories.”

“The bottom line is we are advancing as proponents and are very encouraged by the Ontario government’s willingness to proceed with our First Nations in this manner,” Day said.

In addressing the Grand Council Assembly earlier in the day, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Brad Duguid said “We are 100 per cent behind the First Nations on this development.”

“Transmission development will not occur without engagement and consultation of First Nation communities,” said Mike Penstone, Hydro One’s vice president of major project coordination and external relations.

The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 41 member communities across Ontario, representing approximately 55,000 people. 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.