Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation -- located 440 km north of Sioux Lookout, Ontario, with a population of 1,429 people -- voted overwhelmingly in favour of the The KI Water Declaration and Protocols, during a community referendum July 5, 2011.
The landmark declaration opposes harmful industrial activity on KI's lands; for Big Trout Lake and watersheds to be protected from any industrial use that disrupts, poisons, or harms the lands and waters. The declaration includes a protocol that outlines steps for discussions with government and outside companies over resource management in all of KI territory based on prior informed consent.
Chief Donny Morris hopes to take the Declaration to the United Nations when it convenes in September.
Chief Morris and five others KI community council members were jailed in 2008 after attempting to stop Platinex from engaging in mining exploration in KI territory. After public outcry, an appeals court released the KI leaders. In 2009 the province of Ontario bought out the mining claims in the KI traditional area, and promised never to develop them without KI's support.
The idea for the declaration first sparked as Chief Morris sat in his prison cell in 2008 to 2009. He and the other prisoners, the KI Six, as they came to be known, contemplated how they could protect their lands from disruptive development and exploration in the future.
"It made us see what we needed to do to get from A to B. We need to start mobilizing," said Morris.
Earthroots, Greenpeace and Council of Canadians are among a organizations that have signed a letter supporting the declaration.
View Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nations website
Watch Youtube video of KI Chief Donny Morris
View August 3, 2011 Rabble.ca article
View July 13, 2011 Greenpeace blog post
View July 7, 2011 Council of Canadians release
View May 13, 2008 Manitoba Wildlands news item