Lack of Respect, Indifference Mark Ontario's Treatment of First Nations' Concerns
On February 12, 2008 the leadership of the Shabot Obaajiwan Algonquin First Nation appeared in a Kingston Ontario court to stand trial for their role in the ongoing struggle to stop a proposed 30,000-acre uranium mine on unceded Algonquin land just north of Sharbot Lake, Ontario.
In keeping with the spirit of goodwill and peace in which the Shabot Obaajiwan having been conducting themselves throughout this conflict, Chief Doreen Davis and condoned War Chief Earl Badour Sr. have agreed to continue to abide by the terms of a court ordered injunction issued on September 27, 2007 with which they have complied since the blockade was dismantled on October 11, 2007. The Shabot leadership will ask their community to comply with this order and the “undertakings” negotiated by crown attorneys and Shabot defence lawyers until the case is reconvened for sentencing on March 17, 2008.
This trial is further illustration of the lack respect and indifference with which the Ontario government has consistently chosen to treat the concerns of First Nations people. Ontario has failed to abide by their own legally binding duty to consult Algonquin First Nations before initiating mining exploration on their lands. Instead the government has chosen to hide behind the courts. By attempting to bury this significant political and environmental issue in the mire of the legal system, they have clearly proven that their loyalties lie with industry rather than with people. Ontario has once again elected to promote the profit-seeking ventures of industry over Aboriginal rights and values. In spite of such bad faith on the part of Ontario, Shabot Obaajiwan leaders have consistently demonstrated their willingness to negotiate this issue through consultations with the government.
The Shabot Obaajiwan leadership remains committed to the opposition of the uranium mine, the disastrous effects of which would be felt for many hundreds of kilometres along the watershed and for thousands of years. They appeal to members of the Shabot Obaajiwan community as well as other communities of First Nations and settlers involved in the anti-uranium struggle to continue to conduct themselves in the spirit of peace.
We Live to Fight Another Day!