Cat Lake First Nation Chief unveils symbolic button at Chiefs of Ontario Conference
Tim Brody - Editor
A button representing, “the strength and resilience of the Cat Lake First Nation community as well as their unwavering commitment to defending their land and culture,” was unveiled by Cat Lake First Nation Chief Russell Wesley on Nov. 22 at the Chiefs of Ontario (COO) conference in Toronto.
A Nov. 22 media release issued by Cat Lake First Nation informed, “The button depicts Premier Doug Ford on a bulldozer being observed by Lynx cats, symbolizing the ongoing struggle between the Cat Lake First Nation and the Province of Ontario. The caption “Cat Lake First Nation Strong” and “Defend Land and Culture” underscore the community’s determination to protect their ancestral lands and stand up against encroachment.”
The artwork on the button was created by Deanna Therriault an Indigenous visual artist based in Thunder Bay.
Speaking at the COO conference, Chief Wesley addressed the Band Council Resolution recently ratified by Cat Lake First Nation, “which reiterates their existing moratorium on mining exploration and related road construction within their territory, located 400 km northwest of Thunder Bay. This resolution has been sent to Premier Ford, the Ontario Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, the Minister of Mines, and the Minister of Indigenous Affairs, along with First Mining Gold Corporation.”
Chief Wesley, “expressed deep concern over the province’s intention to issue permits for exploration by First Mining Gold Corporation, specifically for the proposed Springpole Mine Project on Cat Lake First Nation’s Aboriginal Title lands. He highlighted the fact that this goes against the community’s wishes and their united stance against encroachment.”
Chief Wesley stated in his speech that the moratorium on mining activity was “blatantly disregarded in the past when road construction took place on their lands.”
Chief Wesley also spoke to, “the ecological significance of the proposed mine project, which involves partially draining a Lake Trout lake.”
Chief Wesley’s urged his fellow chiefs to stand in solidarity with the Cat Lake First Nation.
Cat Lake First Nation (CLFN) is a remote fly-in First Nation reserve. It is home to 800 people speaking Ojibwe and English located 180 km northwest of Sioux Lookout.