White House Blocks Fight Over Indigenous Lands in Northern Ontario

The Canadian province of Ontario says it will issue a third round of mine exploration permits in Grassy Narrows, an area that Indigenous communities there say is vital to their survival, according to the National Post. The permits, which are held by a company called New Gold, would allow exploration to continue in a large area of land where the Cree and Assiniboine peoples have been displaced to make way for mining. The company has been trying to mine in the area since 2006. That deal now comes under fire as of late, according to the Post.

“The better question might be, where do we even go after this?” Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., said to the Post. Beyer sat on the Energy and Commerce Committee until 2015. “What happens when a successful [mining] story goes a long way away from the area where the original benefits have been? How do you then recover and get other funding and other opportunities in a way that does not continue to set back the tribes’ economic potential for generations to come?”

The Canada Employment and Social Development department is reviewing the permits. And in 2016, the federal government approved $490 million in funding for Grassy Narrows reserves to build homes and create employment. Approximately $20 million of that money came from $60 million federal agreements with the federal government’s Indigenous Affairs department.

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