Land Declaration Meeting

September 05, 2003

Press Release

Omushkego First Nations of Fort Severn, Shamattawa and Weenusk sign joint declaration rejecting the boundaries outlined by the Group of 10.

Chief William Miles,  Chief Roy Gray, and Chief Mike Wabano sign the joint declaration rejecting the boundaries outlined by Group 10.

The three far northern Cree First Nations of Fort Severn, Shamattawa and Weenusk signed a joint declaration rejecting the boundaries outlined by the Group of 10 in its MOU. Fort Severn, Shamattawa and Weenusk are located in the far north of Ontario and Manitoba, along the coast of Hudson Bay. The leaders, elders and youth from the three communities gathered this week in Fort Severn to review the Group of 10's M.O.U. and to formulate their strategy for dealing with what they saw as encroachment on their ancestral and traditional lands.

The Chief of Fort Severn, Roy Gray said, "We were pleased to host this meeting of Cree First Nations who share concerns about the Group of 10 Memorandum of Understanding. We have done this in a good way based on the advice and teachings of our elders. We had elders, women and youth present at our meeting and we heard from them about what they think. It is our responsibility to protect our lands for our young people and for the future. Our land is our life. The pressures from outside third party developers, like mining exploration companies, and the drive to implement grid extensions and all weather roads has put great pressure on all of our people. We need to be sure that we deal with each other with respect and keep our traditional values in mind."

William Miles, Chief of Shamattawa First Nation in North Eastern Manitoba, said " We were not consulted about this M.O.U. and it clearly affects our traditional lands. The community of Shamattawa is under pressure from development and encroachment from third parties, government and now from other First Nations. We have expressed our concerns in the joint declaration with our Cree neighbours. Our land is our life and we must preserve and protect it."

Chief Mike Wabano of the Weenusk First Nation said that "We have attempted to forge liaisons with First Nations to the south. They have used our lands in the past but now we are seeing the pressure on our moose, caribou, and sturgeon. Our traditional lands are well known to our people and to those nearby. We must protect and preserve our lands for future generations. We have been discussing these issues for some time and now we have made a clear statement of our intent and our position. We must show each other respect for our way of life and for our traditional lands."

A formal ceremony was held at which the three Chiefs of Fort Severn, Shamattawa and Weenusk First Nations signed the declaration on behalf of their First Nations before the gathering of elders, women and youth.

"This is a historic occasion. Our three Cree communities of Fort Severn, Shamattawa, and Weenusk will continue to work together to protect our ancestral and traditional lands. We were not consulted about this M.O.U. by the Group of 10. When you look at the land map and their proposed Mineral Development strategy map you see the same land outlined. Some of that land is our traditional land. In this declaration we have made it clear to the Group of 10 that we are paying careful attention to everything that might affect our ancestral and traditional lands."

Councillors, Tommy Miles and Brian Crowe.

See Photos                              See Declaration

Theme provided by Danetsoft under GPL license from Danang Probo Sayekti