Sagamok First Nation: A Mining Company Context
Sagamok First Nation (Sagamok) was one of several First Nations living on land that was a mineral resource. Canada's Indigenous Peoples had an historical claim to swaths of land and their resources; however, as Canada became increasingly colonized, the government negotiated treaties with the First Nations that resulted in smaller boundaries for First Nations lands, but required mining companies that wanted to mine reserved lands to negotiate access with the relevant First Nation. Sagamok had negotiated access with three mining companies and their relationships with the three companies varied. One relationship left Sagamok with open pit mines and an environmental mess; another resulted in good relations, opportunities for Sagamok, and environmental stewardship; and the third was in early stages and already showing problems. In 2016, the Chief of Sagamok needed to resolve the dispute and to consider how to apply what the community had already learned to build capacity in evaluating opportunities for resource extraction, environmental stewardship, and economic development. Ron Mulholland is affiliated with Laurentian University.