News Release: Acknowledging Indigenous Contributions
TORONTO, May 28, 2015 – The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is introducing a program to acknowledge First Nation and Métis communities and organizations. The program recognizes early engagement in learning about Canada’s plan to safely and securely manage used nuclear fuel over the long term.
Communities that participated in the first phase of the Preliminary Assessment (Step 1) in the site selection process will be eligible to receive $250,000 to support community well-being initiatives such as programs for youth, elders and community sustainability. Contributions of $150,000 will be made available to organizations that have been similarly involved.
“The NWMO would like to acknowledge those who participated in learning and provided early guidance about Canada’s plan,” said Bob Watts, NWMO Associate Vice-President of Indigenous Relations. “They helped identify questions and concerns that need to be part of any conversation about how we might further develop a strong foundation for decision-making that respects the unique status of Indigenous peoples in Canada.”
The funding program is an optional one-time initiative to recognize First Nation and Métis contributions to an early part of the site selection process that is now complete in nearly all areas that were involved in learning during that phase. Each community and organization will need to establish a reserve fund or similar mechanism to administer the funding.
Examples of activities the funding could support include (but are not limited to) scholarships, youth projects and programming, language and traditional knowledge learning, elder support and programming, community and strategic planning, and energy efficiency.
“We began developing this program as the first phase of study was being completed in most of the areas involved in the process,” said Mr. Watts. “It has been gratifying to see that regardless of whether or not these communities and organizations supported the project, they were open to sharing their views. We felt strongly that we needed to recognize this participation, and that in doing so, we could also contribute to initiatives that support local well-being.”
Communities eligible to participate in the program include:
- Buffalo River Dene Nation (SK)
- As a group, Community Councils represented by the Métis Nation of Ontario (ON)
- Constance Lake First Nation (ON)
- Cumberland House Cree Nation (SK)
- Ginoogaming First Nation (ON)
- As a group, Métis peoples in The Northern Village of Sandy Bay and The Northern Village of Cumberland House (SK)
- Mississauga First Nation (ON)
- Northeast Superior Regional Chiefs’ Forum (ON)
- Pays Plat First Nation (ON)
- Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation (ON)
- Serpent River First Nation (ON)
- Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation (ON)
Organizations eligible to participate in the program include:
- Assembly of First Nations
- Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (SK)
- Grand Council Treaty #3 (ON)
- Nishnawbe Aski Nation (ON)
- Ontario Coalition of Aboriginal People (ON)
- Prince Albert Grand Council (SK)
- Union of New Brunswick Indians (NB)
The First Nation and Métis communities and organizations the NWMO is acknowledging at this time are under no obligation to support the project or continue their engagement in the process. Some of these communities and organizations are located in areas that have since been screened out. The process is designed to identify a safe site in an area with an informed and willing host where used nuclear fuel can be contained and isolated in a deep geological repository. Several more years of study and engagement are needed before a site can be identified.
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is a not-for-profit organization tasked with the safe, long-term management of Canada’s used nuclear fuel inside a deep geological repository, in a manner that protects people and the environment for generations to come.
Founded in 2002, the NWMO has been guided for more than 20 years by a dedicated team of world-class scientists, engineers and Indigenous Knowledge Holders that are developing innovative and collaborative solutions for nuclear waste management. Canada’s plan will only proceed in an area with informed and willing hosts, where the municipality, First Nation and Métis communities, and others in the area are working together to implement it. The NWMO plans to select a site in 2024, and two areas remain in our site selection process: the Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation-Ignace area in northwestern Ontario and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation-South Bruce area in southern Ontario.