Ring of Fire Assessment: An Assessment of Reflections From the Members of Nishnawbe Aski Nation Territory

Originally published by the Sierra Club
by Joseph Duncan and Aleksandra Spasevski
in honour of Ringo Fiddler. 

29 November 2021

Ontario’s Far North recently received attention due to the $60 billion chromite mining potential. The massive mining project is known as the Ring of Fire. 

Both provincial and federal leaders have identified this mining opportunity as a multigenerational opportunity that can create both economic and societal benefits for communities (Chetkiewicz & Lintner, 2014).

Repercussions of mining developments generally have a significant impact on the economy, environment, society and Indigenous nations’ natural habitat impacting their survival. Unfavorable repercussions of surface and subsurface mining incorporate waste material, environmental permanent devastations, and human rights violations under the Canadian Charter of Rights, United Nations Declaration of Indigenous People for First Nations communities. This can be comparable to the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) (Keeling & Sandlos, 2015). The potential economic contributions can significantly benefit both current and future generations.

History of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation Territory

Established in 1983, the Nishnawbe Aski Nation governance represents Forty-nine First Nations communities with a population of 45,000 in Northern Ontario (Nishnawbe Aski Nation, n.d.; Nishnawbe Aski Nation & Together Design Lab, 2018). This encompasses the James Bay Treaty 9. Signed in 1905 with Canada and Province of Ontario, Treaty 9 was established on the agreement to full sovereignty and autonomy involving hunting and trapping rights as well as education and economic stability on reserves.

In 1977, the Nishnawbe Aski Nation publicly declared their rights and principles for the people and the land. Indigenous and First Nations communities accepted a promise of happiness and prosperity however, the Crown haven’t fulfilled promises on the Treaty (Nishnawbe Aski Nation, n.d.; Nishnawbe Aski Nation & Together Design Lab, 2018).

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