Victory for KI First Nation

posted by Rainforest Action Network
Action at Ontario legislature supported by RAN
Action at Ontario legislature supported by RAN

Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation, located in the Boreal Forest of Ontario, Canada – 200 km from the nearest road – just won its fight to say “no” to mining exploration company Plantinex. RAN has supported KI with grants through our Protect-an-Acre program and through our role as an advisor to the Global Greengrants Fund.

Platinex has finally given up its staked claims to land near the KI community in exchange for a financial settlement with the provincial government of Ontario, Canada.

Last year KI’s chief and five councilors were jailed for refusing to allow platinum mining exploration that would threaten the health and livelihood of their Indigenous community in the heart of North America’s wildest forest.

This became one of the highest profile Indigenous land rights and environmental justice struggles in Canada. KI’s supporters helped to organize a huge coalition of environmental, human rights, Indigenous, labor, student, and social justice organizations in support of KI and other communities calling for moratoria on industrial extraction on their territories. In May of 2008 First Nations community members and 300 supporters occupied the front lawn of the Ontario legislature for 3 days demanding justice, and culminating in a national day of action for Indigenous rights with 4,000 people marching in the streets of Toronto.

Ontario has since rewritten the Mining Act, committed to community led landuse planning in the Far North that will require First Nations consent, and to protecting an area half the size of California in the Northern Boreal Forest.

It is primarily the work of these communities (and their supporters) that has created the political and economic necessity for this change. The work goes on as these communities continue the process of asserting their sovereignty, re-claiming their territories and livelihoods, healing their people, and caring for the earth. They are setting a bold example for the whole world to follow.

You can support communities like KI by supporting Protect-an-Acre.