Today, the Town of Fort Frances and the Agency One First Nations of Couchiching, Nigigoonsiminikaaning, Naicatchewenin, and Mitaanjigamiing made the following statement:
“In May 2019, we came together to celebrate the signing of our Joint Declaration of Intent and Friendship. This pivotal document outlined the principles upon which the Town of Fort Frances and the Agency One First Nations would move forward together in the spirit of friendship and mutual support.
“Since that time, we have received many inquiries from the public, asking about the status of our work to resolve historic differences between our communities, but also about our efforts to engage in the work of reconciliation.
“The Chiefs of the four First Nations have continued to meet with representatives of the Town, and the parties have had open and productive discussions on a wide range of matters.
“While the pandemic has slowed our progress by making meetings more difficult to convene, we want to assure our communities that we are making significant progress on many issues related to the Point Park. We are proud of the strengthened relationship with one another, and optimistic about what lies ahead.
“Members of the community may have noticed that some changes have already taken effect. The Town recently added a territorial acknowledgement to its council meetings. Both Town and First Nation officials have taken part in one another’s special events over the past several months. In addition, the Agency One First Nations continue to hold ceremonial protocols at Seven Oaks.
“The Joint Declaration also specifically committed us to the formation of a community-based committee to advise the Town on issues related to reconciliation, and we expect to share more information about that new, jointly-formed body in the near future. We know that it is of interest to many people in the community.
“While we are unable to provide many details of our discussions and negotiations at this time, we are motivated by the community’s interest in seeing many of these issues resolved, and we hope to have more developments to share with the public in the near future.”