The newly unveiled Pays Plat First Nation flag. - Photo courtesy of Jesse Achneepineskum
The Far North
The Far North makes up 42% of the Ontario’s land mass. The Far North Act supports the protection of at least half of the Far North or approximately 225,000 square kilometres in a network of protected areas. The Far North is also significant in that it absorbs approximately 12 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the air each year.
The Far North Act, Bill 191, was passed September 2010, and establishes objectives for land use planning in the Far North. The legislation purports to allow for a “significant role” for First Nations in the planning and the protection of areas of cultural value in the Far North and the protection of ecological systems, but was passed with inadequate consultation with First Nations.
Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) noted their official opposition to Bill 191 in August 2010, stating that
“It violates the Treaties and disrespects our jurisdiction. It is not a true partnership. It imposes a massive interconnected protected area over our homelands without any compensation. It splits our northern First Nations from our southern First Nations and imposes different legal regimes...All development and protection decisions within Nishnawbe Aski Nation territory require the free, prior and informed consent of NAN First Nations.”