Partnering with First Nation in the Far North
McGuinty Government Supports Community Based Land Use Planning in Kashechewan
Kashechewan First Nation in the Far North are working alongside their community's Elders to collect information about their traditional lands that will contribute to a community based land use plan.
Ontario is committed to working with First Nations who are interested in land use planning in the Far North. Community based land use planning is key to Ontario's Far North Land Use Planning Initiative to establish a network of conservation lands across the Far North and support economic opportunity for First Nation communities.
In Kashechewan, an Elders Advisory Council has been established. The council and the community are working to formalize a Youth Council and Environmental Protection Committee to collectively promote and develop the land use plan. Together, Cree Elders and youth are mapping the land they have traditionally used. Youth are being engaged in learning about their history, the Cree names for lakes, rivers and hunting grounds, and areas that might require special protection.
Eight First Nation communities are making significant progress towards the preparation of community based land use plans. The process encourages greater economic self-sufficiency for First Nations and supports the Ontario government's Far North land use planning goals of ecosystem conservation, Aboriginal community involvement and environmentally sustainable economic development.
- Kashechewan First Nation is located on the north shore of the Albany River 10 km upstream from James Bay.
- As part of a memorandum of understanding, the Ministry of Natural Resources is providing more than $131,000 to support Kashechewan First Nation's research.
- Twenty-five First Nations are at various stages of engagement with the Ministry of Natural Resources from initial dialogue to information gathering in preparation for community based land use planning.
- More than 24,000 people live in the Far North. First Nations represent 90 per cent of the region's population.
“Mapping and documenting the historical use of the land is an important step towards the development of a Community Land Use Plan. The fact that Kashechewan First Nation Elders and youth are working together is a promising sign for the future of the Far North.”
“Sustainability is different things to different people and governments; every living being needs clean water, clean air, sustainable food and herbal sources. The environment provides us with all of these needs. Therefore, Land Use Planning is good to identify and document our traditional lands, waters and special protective areas that we occupied for generations, also, the youth to learn and carry on our teachings and traditional historical names of our territory. We must continue to work with the government, also to explore economic development opportunities for our youth and future generations when they arise.”