After working with the Ontario Government toward a mutual agreement within the harmonized sales tax framework, Batchewana First Nation chief and council thought they were breaking ground toward a new relationship with the Provincial government.
“It seems as though we put out one fire with the Ontario government or the Canadian government only to see another start, when will they learn,” Chief Dean Sayers on the issue of jurisdiction and the proposed wind towers on Lake Superior.
Over the past five years the Ontario government has been developing plans toward the establishment of a windfarm on Lake Superior.
The proposed area for the windfarm is the innermost point of Batchewana territory as per reserves outlined in the historic Vidal Anderson Report and the 1850 Robinson Huron Treaty.
The only formal meeting to discuss these developmental plans was cancelled by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) the day the session was to take place.
Batchewana First Nation (BFN) has not been included in any meaningful engagement to garner the First Nation’s consent, and is disappointed that the MNR does not recognize that engaging the First Nation’s participation is essential to any planning and is an obligation of government duties.
BFN chief and council assert that the waters within Batchewana’s territories, including Lake Superior has always been and continues to be BFN jurisdiction.
Chief Sayers commented: “We as a Nation have never relinquished this responsibility that is centrifugal to our citizens.”
Chief Sayers further added: “Ontario government, hear me and respond accordingly. There has been no consent garnered by our First Nation, which has jurisdiction of these lands. You’re bureaucrats, and your technicians have no justification to make any plans for areas that are under the ownership of our First Nation. There will be severe consequences of these plans continue.”
Batchewana chief and council are advising the Ontario government to take a serious look at their laws and regulations before continuing with any plans in this area.
Technicians and bureaucrats are often ill informed and ignorant when responding to questions in the area of jurisdictions, which can have detrimental effects on everyone.
The First Nation’s chief, council and citizens will continue to assert their jurisdiction and sovereignty over Lake Superior, and BFN encourages future engagement sessions with the MNR to remind the Crown of the true nature of First Nation’s land title in this area.