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Mississauga First Nation statement on Cameco negotiations

We look forward to meeting with Cameco and CNSC to re-establish our relationship in the spirit of reconciliation, says presenter and band councillor
2019-06-05 Cameco Blind River
Cameco Corporation uranium refinery in Blind River. Source: cameco.com

ElliotLakeToday has received the following news release from Mississauga First Nation on the Intervention it recently filed with the Canada Nuclear Safety Commission in the matter of Cameco's application to renew its license to continue to refine uranium in the town of Blind River.

MISSISSAUGA FIRST NATION - A research team led by Peyton Pitawanakwat, Laura Mayer, Brent Niganobe, Gloria Daybutch and Kerrie Blaise presented their submission to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) on Nov. 24.

Their submission was part of a public hearing process to consider Cameco’s application for a 10-year license renewal for operations at their uranium refinery.

Mississauga First Nation’s Chief and Council supported the presentation as recognition of the rare opportunity to engage Cameco on community-specific interests in a public setting.

Laura Mayer pointed out, “10-year license lengths diminish opportunities for information sharing, direct involvement, and engagement based on MFN’s (sic) right to govern traditional lands.”

In the presentation, the team highlighted specific demands while recognizing time limits that restricted their presentation to 25 minutes. The community’s submission is 600 pages long and can be accessed on the CNSC website for public viewing.

Mayer wrapped up the presentation by stating the need for the community’s position to be heard, “We hope that this submission draws attention to the inherent and treaty rights of Mississauga First Nation (MFN), especially in light of the ongoing Robinson Huron Annuities claim, which outlines the right of MFN to share in the development of our treaty lands.

"It is our duty as Anishinaabe people to consider the seven generations before, and the seven generations yet to come. It was our intention to have our concerns registered in the Canadian public record. We recognize that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has a duty to protect human health and the environment under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.

"To meet those two obligations, we need an expanded environmental program. The duty to consult and accommodate is not met by simply referring to standard clause language. The Crown must demonstrate its understanding of the affected aboriginal group's concerns and must substantially accommodate those concerns.”

The team acknowledges the need for follow-up with Cameco to ensure deeper dialogue on the community’s position.

Peyton Pitawanakwat, one of the presenters and a councillor with Mississauga First Nation stated a willingness to work with all parties to ensure a positive outcome, “We look forward to meeting with Cameco and CNSC to re-establish our relationship in the spirit of reconciliation and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”