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Algonquin Grand Chief denounces Canadian Nuclear Laboratories after naming ceremony

Algonquin Grand Chief denounces Canadian Nuclear Laboratories after naming ceremony

15 December 2021 à 12:00 am

The Grand Chief of the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council, Savanna McGregor, issued a statement on December 10 denouncing Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) for their collaboration with the group Algonquins of Ontario (AOO). On December 3, CNL issued announced that the AOO had bestowed a traditional Algonquin name, Minwamon, on one of their buildings. The name means “clear path” in the Algonquin language.

Grand Chief McGregor asserts in the release that the AOO is not a recognized group, and called CNL’s actions “insulting”.

“The group that calls itself the Algonquins of Ontario is not made up of the Algonquin communities or recognized members, with the exception of the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn who are only a minority of this group,” the statement reads, adding that a majority of members of Pikwàkanagàn were opposed to the draft agreement in principal with AOO.

Grand Chief McGregor was joined in her criticism by Chief Lance Haymond of Kebaowek First Nation in Temiscaming, who issued a statement of their own.

“This announcement comes at the expense of Kebaowek First Nation and other Algonquin Nations who are the rightful title holders,” Chief Haymond wrote.

Both Grand Chief McGregor and Chief Haymond further assert that CNL is using the AOO to bypass their obligations to consult with the Indigenous groups who hold rights to the territory.

“The Grand Chief called the AOO group’s gesture an attempt to appropriate Algonquin identity for benefits to which they were not entitled. The majority of this group claim to have ties to an Algonquin ancestor whose existence dates back several hundred years. In some cases, the connection to an Aboriginal ancestor is highly contested. She also believes that CNL is using this group to escape its genuine obligations to consult and accommodate the true Algonquins,” Grand Chief McGregor’s statement reads.

“We are in active dialogue with both Canadian Nuclear Laboratories and the nuclear regulator and have insisted that the Algonquins of Ontario are not an entity entitled to consultation on projects in our territory, and they certainly do not represent our interests … Despite our clear
position, we continue to witness attempts to extinguish our rights as governments and businesses turn to them for easy Indigenous buy-in for nuclear projects,” Chief Haymond wrote in Kebaowek’s statement.

Grand Chief McGregor’s statement calls CNL’s activities “a danger to everyone, people, animals, fish and plants.” Kebaowek First Nation’s statement called for a suspension of the small modular reactor project at CNL until “such time as meaningful consultation and cooperation have occurred.”