Indigenous Peoples and Mining: Exploring Relations into the Future

On Wednesday, March 1st, Dr. Mike Hankard, professor and Chair of the Department of Indigenous Studies at the University of Sudbury, hosted a panel entitled Indigenous Peoples and Mining: Exploring Relations into the Future. The goal of the event was to "come together to have a discussion and explore some issues relating to Indigenous people and mining”explained Dr. Hankard. “As a university, we are uniquely positioned to hold these discussions because we provide a venue for the open expression and free sharing of diverse ideas, and we encourage the sharing of thoughts, opinions and concerns”.

The Panel saw 5 brilliant guest speakers:
Maurice Switzer Mining Panel 2017    Maurice Switzer, Bnesi, is a citizen of the Mississaugas of Alderville. He has delivered presentations on the treaty relationship for school boards across Ontario. Maurice was the first Indigenous publisher of a daily newspaper in Canada, and served as communications director for the Assembly of First Nations and the Union of Ontario Indians. He has been an adjunct professor at Huntington University and a sessional instructor at the University of Sudbury, where he has taught courses on the impacts of media representation on Indigenous peoples. In June, 2016, he accepted an appointment to the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
     
Lorraine Rekmans Mining Panel 2017   Lorraine Rekmans is of Algonquin-French descent, and is a member of the Serpent River First Nation. She was born in Elliot Lake, where her father worked as a uranium miner. Lorraine is an advocate for environmental and social justice issues through her work in both media and non-governmental organizations. She has a background in journalism and covered the first ever environmental assessment on decommissioning of the uranium mines in Elliot Lake. She was an intervenor at the Environmental Assessment on the Decommissioning of the Elliot Lake Uranium mines as part of the Elliot Lake Women’s Group. She is the former Executive Director of the National Aboriginal Forestry Association. She is the co-editor of This Is My Homeland, a book which captures the experiences of members of the Serpent River First Nation and the impact on their lives from uranium mining at Elliot Lake. Lorraine assisted in writing a number of international declarations including the Indigenous Peoples Declaration on Forestry, which was submitted at the World Forestry Congress, in 2003. She has received The Rosalie Bertell Award for outstanding service in the field of environmental health by the International Institute of Concern for Public Health. She is currently the Indigenous Affairs Critic in the Green Party Shadow Cabinet. She divides her time between her political involvement, consulting and her work at her family business.
     
Cheryl Recollet Mining Panel 2017   Cheryl Recollet is a band member of the Wahnapitae First Nation and Director of Sustainable Development for the band. She is the key point of contact for consultation and negotiation strategies with government and industry. Cheryl also coordinates Taighwenini Technical and Environmental Services group, a team offering environmental services to Wahnapitae First Nation’s industry partners. Cheryl has a Master’s degree in Environmental Assessment from McGill University, an Executive Certificate in Conflict Resolution, an Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree in Geography and Anthropology (Laurentian University), a Certificate in Applied Geography (Laurentian University), and a Diploma in Native Lands Management (from Cambrian College).
     
Ugo LaPointe Mining Panel 2017   Ugo LaPointe is the Canadian program coordinator for MiningWatch Canada. He has an Honours B.Sc in Geological Engineering (Queen’s University) and over twenty years of diverse experiences in the Quebec and Canadian mining sector. He is the Canada Program Coordinator for MiningWatch Canada, a non-profit organization aiming at better protecting the health of peoples and ecosystems affected by mining in Canada and internationally. Ugo is also co-founder and co-spokesperson of the Coalition pour que le Québec ait meilleure mine! [Quebec Better Mining Coalition], a not for profit organization founded in 2008 to promote better social, environmental, and economic practices in the industry. Originally from Quebec’s Abitibi mining region, Ugo has published numerous papers, and frequently presented at conferences, government committees and in the media on issues related to mineral development. Ugo is currently an NGO representative on both Ontario & Quebec Mining Ministers’ Advisory Committees, as well as on both federal steering committees for the National Orphaned/Abandoned Mines Initiative (NOAMI) and the Mine Environment Neutral Drainage (MEND). Before joining MiningWatch, Ugo worked as a consultant for NGOs, government agencies, research centers, communities, Aboriginal organizations, and ethical investment firms.
     
Dana Sasarean Mining Panel 2017   Dana Sasarean is a Senior Analyst with Sustainalytics, a global responsible investment research firm specialized in environmental, social and governance (ESG) data and analysis. With over ten years in the ESG research field, she has specialized in extractive industries building extensive knowledge in the mining and oil and gas industries. While Dana has originally joined Innovest, through a series of mergers and acquisitions she also worked for RiskMetrics and MSCI. Dana has covered some of the world’s largest mining and O&G companies and developed expertise in a number of related ESG issues including health and safety, environmental management, energy and climate change, water and local community. Dana holds a Finance & Banking degree from West University (Romania) and a Master in Environmental Studies from York University.

Click here to see the article written by Angela Gemmill (Sudbury Star).
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