'Historic' meeting between northern First Nations and politicians wraps up in Timmins
Delegates from seven area First Nations and their Mushkegowuk Council met with the province's Indigenous affairs and environment ministers to discuss matters like treaty rights and the economic potential of the James Bay coast.
Little was disclosed about what was talked about in the meeting Friday, but Fort Albany Chief Robert Nakogee told CTV that he was pleased with the around four-hours of discussion.
He said the formation of a treaty round-table and environmental talks were top of mind.
"Don't forget the treaty that was signed in 1905 still exists today," Nakogee said in an interview.
"And of course what's been pushed here is always the environment. How are we going to approach— with (being) environmentally-friendly, of course, climate change happening also. How we're going to move forward on that."
Mushkegowuk Council has been working with the federal government to declare a national marine conservation area along the James Bay and Hudson Bays coasts, prompting further discussion about the economic potential of the natural resources in 'Treaty Nine' territory.
Ontario's Indigenous affairs minister Greg Rickford acknowledged that First Nations want to build stronger partnerships with federal and provincial governments and that this meeting was a symbol of a commitment to improving that relationship.
"Any time we can talk about legacy infrastructure, preserving and protecting important conservation principals and ... at least talking about responsible resource development, we're going to be involved in that discussion," said Rickford, also the province's minister of northern development and mines.
Media were told that a more detailed summary of the meeting's discussions will be released at a later time.