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Thousands protest, demanding Ontario government stop mining on First Nations’ lands – The Varsity

October 23, 2023

More than 6,000 protesters call for end to “free entry” mining system

Over 6,000 people protested against the Ontario government’s policies allowing companies to mine on some First Nations’ traditional lands as part of the March for the Land, which took place in Toronto on September 27.

The First Nations Land Defence Alliance — a group that includes members of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation, Wapekeka First Nation, Neskantaga First Nation, Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation, and Muskrat Dam First Nation, created to fight against government intrusion on their land — organized the protest. The 1906 Treaty 9 allocates these First Nations over 60,000 square feet of land, but resource extraction companies have tried to mine on these lands.

The protesters criticized Premier Doug Ford’s “free entry” mining system, which allows companies to apply to mine on land in Ontario — including on the land of some First Nations — without ever travelling there physically. The Land Defence Alliance has argued that the system makes it easier for mining companies to make claims on their territories for mineral exploration without their consent.

Many U of T students attended the protest, and over 30 organizations, including Climate Justice UofT, the Ontario Secondary School Teacher Federation, and Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction, supported the protest.

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