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Minegoziibe Anishinaabe (Pine Creek First Nation) files lawsuit against Louisiana Pacific

Minegoziibe Anishinaabe (Pine Creek First Nation) files lawsuit against Louisiana Pacific

Treaty 2 Territory – Earlier today, Minegoziibe Anishinaabe (formerly Pine Creek First Nation) Chief Derek Nepinak, and Council made the announcement that the Minegoziibe Anishinaabe has filed a lawsuit in Court of Queen’s Bench to halt logging by Louisiana Pacific in their traditional lands. The traditional land that they speak of includes Duck Mountain Provincial

Treaty 2 Territory – Earlier today, Minegoziibe Anishinaabe (formerly Pine Creek First Nation) Chief Derek Nepinak, and Council made the announcement that the Minegoziibe Anishinaabe has filed a lawsuit in Court of Queen’s Bench to halt logging by Louisiana Pacific in their traditional lands.

The traditional land that they speak of includes Duck Mountain Provincial Park and Provincial Forest. Chief Nepinak, and Council want all logging halted until the Government of Manitoba conducts meaningful consultations with Indigenous people, as obliged to under the Canadian Constitution.

“The days of simply taking wealth from our mountain, while our people cannot even get food for their families from our traditional lands are over.” Derek Nepinak, Chief Minegoziibe Anishinaabe

Below are some quick facts that were shared as part of today’s press release;

The Land, The People

• Minegoziibe (pron : minah goo zee bee) Anishinabe is located 110 kilometres north of Dauphin, Manitoba. Chief Derek Nepinak & Council files the lawsuit on behalf of 4,000 Anishinaabeg members.

• Since 1994, Louisiana Pacific has held logging rights to Forest Management Licence Area 3, which encompasses Duck Mountain Provincial Park and Provincial Forest. This is the only provincial park in Manitoba where the government allows commercial timber cutting to continue, and one of only two provincial parks in Canada that allows commercial logging.

• Minegoziibe Anishinaabe receives zero compensation for logging on its traditional lands, an area that is under extraordinary stress from the cumulative impact of forestry activities, and other industrial, recreational and agricultural pressures.

• Louisiana Pacific is a global company headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee with 4,800 employees and sales of $2.8 billion in 2020.

• The Manitoba government is allowing the cutting and removal of over 350,000 cubic metres of hardwood (deciduous trees) in Forest Management Licence Area 3 in 2022, with the vast majority of that hardwood coming from Duck Mountain. That is more than 40 football fields of wood with the wood piled 1 metre high.

• Minegoziibe Anishinaabe is a signatory to Treaty No. 4 which acknowledges the right of its members to pursue their vocations of hunting, trapping and fishing throughout their traditional lands, and to protect these lands and waters.

• Since time immemorial, the Anishinaabeg have relied on these lands encompassing Forest Management License Area 3 including Duck Mountain to hunt, trap and fish, to gather berries and medicines, to grow gardens, to share knowledge with their children and for spiritual purposes including prayers, ceremonies and offerings. To ensure its gifts are there for future generations, they have taught their children to live in respectful balance with nature and to protect Maamaa Aki (Mother Earth). Cultural connectivity and intergenerational knowledge-sharing are essential to the Anishinaabe way of life, and to the future of Minegoziibe Anishinaabe members.

• Moose populations in the Duck Mountain have declined sharply since the onset of commercial timber cutting with significant moose hunting closures being implemented in 2011 and ongoing. Manitoba government officials have acknowledged the serious challenge that moose populations face with some populations struggling to survive due in large part to human development.

• Minegoziibe Anishinabe has warned the Manitoba government that forestry operations feel like ‘death by a thousand cuts’ for members, with no opportunity to mitigate the ongoing significant adverse cumulative impacts of Manitoba’s approvals.

The Legal Issue

• In Manitoba, commercial timber cutting and removal is enabled by The Forest Act, while long-term Forest Management Plans are subject to review and approval under both The Forest Act and The Environment Act.

• As required by law, Louisiana Pacific submitted a 20-year Forest Management Plan for the Forest Management Licence Area 3 area and Duck Mountain on June 1, 2006, but it was not approved by the Manitoba government.

• There has been NO approved, long-term plan for this critically important and sensitive area since December 31, 2005.

• Louisiana Pacific’s licence agreement with Manitoba to continue logging in Forest Management Licence Area 3 area expired on December 31, 2014, but Manitoba previously issued two extensions to December 31, 2021. Manitoba is  constitutionally obligated to consult Minegoziibe Anishinabe before each new license extension is issued.

• Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 provides constitutional protection to the Indigenous
and treaty rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada:

“The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby
recognized and affirmed.”

• The honour of the Crown is a foundational constitutional principle which governs the
relationship between the Crown and Indigenous peoples. The duty to consult ensures the
Crown acts honourably by preventing it from acting unilaterally in ways that undermine
Indigenous rights.

• On November 25, 2021, the Minister wrote to Minegoziibe Anishinaabe indicating that
Manitoba would not be making its decisions related to the Louisiana Pacific 20-year Forest
Management Plan before December 31, 2021.

• Unbeknownst to Minegoziibe Anishinabe, just a few days later, on December 1, 2021, the
Manitoba Lieutenant Governor in Council issued an Order in Council which authorized the
Minister to issues a third unilateral extension to the Louisiana Pacific Forest Management
Licence Agreement, this time until December 31, 2022.

The Next Steps

• The Manitoba Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development is constitutionally obligated to consult Minegoziibe Anishinabe in relation to these impacts on its Treaty and Aboriginal rights.

• The Manitoba government has breached its duty to consult.

• Minegoziibe Anishinabe urges the Court of Queen’s Bench to quash the Order in Council and
place an immediate moratorium on logging in Forest Management Licence Area 3, including Duck Mountain Provincial Park.

• Minegoziibe Anishinabe urges the Court to direct the Government of Manitoba to complete a
process of meaningful consultation with Minegoziibe Anishinaabe before any further logging licenses are granted in this area.
• Chief Nepinak also notes that: “Canada has entered an era of reconciliation. Consulting and
partnering with First Nations governments and Indigenous people in a mutually respectful and beneficial manner must be the new normal, as called for by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.”

• On June 21, 2021, the United NationsDeclaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act received Royal Assent, marking a historic milestone in Canada. References to “free, prior and informed consent” are found throughout the Declaration, emphasizing the importance of upholding the rights of Indigenous peoples and ensuring that there is effective and meaningful participation by Indigenous peoples in decisions that affect them, their communities and territories.

Minegoziibe Anishinabe is represented by the Public Interest Law Centre (Legal Aid
Manitoba) in partnership with First Peoples Law LLP (Vancouver).

For additional information on today’s press release, you may contact;

Jeremy McKay, Policy Analyst
Minegoziibe Anishinaabe
jeremymckay.pcfn@gmail.com
cell: 204-648-7047

Submitted By: Marlene Davis, Communications Keeper

 

Marlene Davis
ADMINISTRATOR
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