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The growing push by Canada’s First Nations for sovereignty

Posted by ipso facto @ 10:08 on September 26, 2014  

LA TUQUE, Canada — For years, members of the Atikamekw First Nation have watched trucks rumble through their traditional territory, carrying out load after load of timber, only to see the profits slipped into others’ pockets. Recently, exploration companies have begun searching for rare metal and gold deposits on the land, a vast stretch of Canadian wilderness nearly the size of Maine. And like many First Nation tribes, the Atikamekw have had enough.

Atikamekw leaders declared sovereignty over the 31,000 square miles of boreal forest in north-central Quebec earlier this month in a bid to control the extraction of resources on their land. This week they issued another statement saying they won’t allow forestry work to continue on their ancestral land without their approval. The moves came after a game-changing Supreme Court decision this summer that recognized the rights of a First Nation in British Columbia to its ancestral territory. Now many tribes are examining if and how they can exert more control over the land they claim as theirs.

Most of the Atikamekw-claimed territory is interrupted only by a scattering of small towns and gravel logging roads. The First Nation group, consisting of about 7,000 people living on three small isolated reserves, has been fighting for greater control over its traditional land for years.

The declaration of sovereignty came after years of watching with frustration as the Quebec provincial government made deals with forestry companies without Atikamekw consent, said Constant Awashish, its newly elected grand chief.

more http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/9/25/first-nations-sovereigntycanada.html

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Post by the Golden Rule. Oasis not responsible for content/accuracy of posts. DYODD.