AFN Affirms Support for First Nations’ Assertion of Rights in Treaty 9 Legal Action on Cumulative Impacts

Published: Apr 14, 2023Press Release

Ottawa, ON – On Tuesday, during its Special Chiefs Assembly, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) adopted a Resolution in support of litigation launched by Chapleau Cree First Nation, Missanabie Cree First Nation, and Brunswick House First Nation (the Treaty 9 Nations).

The litigation challenges the Government of Ontario’s failure to uphold the Crown’s obligations under Treaty 9, including its obligation to protect the Nations’ Treaty rights and way of life from the cumulative impacts of resource development.

“Provinces are deriving wealth and prosperity from First Nations land,” said National Chief RoseAnne Archibald. “This lawsuit is about provinces not mitigating the degradation of First Nations lands, waters, and way of life and highlights the importance of Nation-to-Nation prosperity and mutual benefit.”

The legal action is an important step towards enforcing the Crown’s outstanding obligations to uphold its Treaty promises and ensure Indigenous Peoples are able to maintain their culture and way of life.

The action will also bring much-needed attention to the cumulative environmental impacts of resource development in Treaty 9 and across the Boreal Forest.

“The AFN acknowledges the tremendous work done by the Treaty 9 Nations and their supporters, including Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Mushkegowuk Council, in protecting and asserting First Nation rights, jurisdiction, and sovereignty. We are committed to providing support for the Treaty 9 Nations in their legal action and working to explore other avenues for continued support,” said AFN Regional Chief, Nova Scotia/Newfoundland, Paul Prosper. “We call on the Government of Canada and provincial governments to seek and obtain free, prior and informed consent from First Nations prior to taking measures that may impact our lands and waters. Immediate measures must be taken jointly with First Nations to address cumulative impacts on our Treaty rights and way of life.”

The impacts of resource development must be monitored, assessed, and managed in full partnership with First Nations, as the original stewards of our lands and waters.

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization that works to advance the collective aspirations of First Nations individuals and communities across Canada on matters of national or international nature and concern. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.