Uashat mak Mani-utenam and Matimekush-Lac John communities sign reconciliation and collaboration agreement with IOC
Montreal, Canada – The Innu communities of Uashat mak Mani-utenam and Matimekush-Lac John today signed a Reconciliation and Collaboration Agreement with the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC). The agreement was named “Ussiniun”, which means “renewal” in the Innu language.
The long term partnership agreement will provide the foundation for a new mutually beneficial relationship based on dialogue, openness and trust between the company and the two communities over coming decades.
The agreement will facilitate increased participation by the Innu communities in IOC's activities, delivering financial benefits and socio-economic initiatives across employment, training, and business opportunities. IOC intends to increase the number of Innu hires and to implement measures to help develop the capacities and competitiveness of Innu businesses. The company will also collaborate with the Innu on environmental monitoring and protection as well as on preserving and promoting their unique customs and cultural practices. Financial details of the agreement are confidential.
Chief Réal McKenzie of Matimekush-Lac John said “After 70 years of history, our Innu community of Matimekush Lac-John concludes this agreement with the Iron Ore Company of Canada, which will allow us to optimize our cultural, social and economic development. In conclusion, Ussiniun will undoubtedly benefit our future generations.”
Chief Mike (Pelash) Mckenzie of Uashat mak Mani-utenam said “This agreement marks the beginning of a new relationship with IOC, based on respect and partnership. The compensations and benefits for our members will allow us to take even greater control of the development of our community. The respect shown by IOC will allow us to turn the page on a history of conflict and look to the future with optimism.”
IOC President and Chief Executive Officer Clayton Walker said “This long-term agreement is a significant milestone that allows us to move forward together, to build strong relationships based on mutual respect, trust and benefit. We are committed to working in collaboration with the Uashat mak Mani-utenam and Matimekush-Lac John communities to realize the many benefits of this agreement for all involved.”
The agreement also includes an apology to the Innu from IOC and provides for the withdrawal of all legal claims instituted by Uashat mak Mani-utenam and Matimekush-Lac John relating to IOC's activities, securing current and future mining operations.
Today’s signing marks the end of several months of negotiation between the three parties. Extensive consultations took place virtually and in person in both communities between the months of August and November 2020.
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