In response to questions raised by some community members about Mushkegowuk Council’s presence and messaging at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada conference held in Toronto during the first week of March, Grand Chief Leo Friday has provided the following statement:

  • Our messages at the PDAC were aimed at letting that audience know that there cannot be critical minerals development without conservation, and that if developers want to extract critical minerals, the two must go hand in hand.
  • This is already happening in some Mushkegowuk communities. TTN, the Chapleau Cree and Missinabee Cree are already involved in critical mineral extraction, and at the same time are backing conservation.
  • This is a choice that must be made by each First Nation in Omushkego. Allowing critical mineral extraction on First Nations land is up to each individual First Nation and its members. The Mushkegowuk Council is not making that decision for them.
  • The Mushkegowuk Council began the Omushkego Wahkohtowin project to promote conservation. At the same time, we recognize that our people need economic development and jobs. The point of the Wahkohtowin project is not to stop development entirely, but to ensure our people have a say in how and where development happens.
  • The project is built on community-based land-use planning. With a land-use plan that respects the priorities of our people, of our communities, we can fulfil our responsibilities as custodians or guardians of our lands.
  • We will visit each project community in the coming weeks, to explain the Omushkego Wahkohtowin project, and to listen and respond to peoples’ concerns.

Walter Leo Friday