First Nation seeks more control over resources

The Poplar River First Nation of Manitoba is fighting efforts to develop its traditional territory, a boreal forest eyed by timber, power, oil and gas companies.

Although development would bring employment to a reserve where only 15 percent have jobs, elders say the risk isn't worth it. They point to other Native communities where logging, hydropower dams and mining have destroyed traditional lands.

The First Nation's effort is being supported by outside groups who want to protect the boreal, or original, forest. About 80 percent of the 1.3-billion-acre forest remains roadless. Most of the land is owned by the government and dozens of First Nations live there and rely on natural resources for subsistence.

Last month, Canada's Supreme Court said the government must consult First Nations on development that affects traditional territory. Natives all over the country plan to use the decision to bolster their rights.

Get the Story:
In the Boreal Forest, A Developing Storm (The Washington Post 12/12)
Native Canadians wage legal fights over land use (The New York Times 12/12)

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