In June of 2021, the Ontario Sierra Club Chapter commenced the research project for the Regional Assessment of the Ring of Fire. The Ring of Fire research project was led by Sierra Club Ontario’s former Chapter Chair, Joseph Duncan; an Indigenous member from Treaty Nine Territory.
The Ring of Fire is 5,100 square kilometers and is situated in Northwestern Ontario, rich in mineral deposits, peat moss, caribou, and many other species essential to Indigenous nations, economy and culture. The Ring of Fire is home to the Indigenous people of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, with a population of 45,000 on and off-reserve. The Treaty was established in 1905 and Treaty Nine was established with the Canadian and Ontario governments as a sovereign nation.
The research team initiated the project by focusing on environmental, ecological, and carbon footprints in the region. The team’s qualitative research has begun interviewing members in the Nishnawbe Aski Nation. Plans to visit the Ring of Fire site are currently scheduled for July 2021.
The research also focuses on the economic benefits of the project in the Region; disturbance of migration patterns of the caribou, geese, and long-term environmental consequences on Indigenous hunting and harvesting in the Nishnawbe Aski Nation from the Ring of Fire project. In addition, concerns about minimal consultation and misdirected information about the Ring of Fire project have developed skepticism among the Indigenous people in Nishnawbe Aski Nation Territory.
Ring of Fire Regional Assessment
The Sierra Club of Canada Foundation, Ontario Chapter also conducted the Regional Assessment research on the Ring of Fire Project. The assessment involved interviewing members from the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) to understand their concerns and perspectives on the Ring of Fire.
The assessment concentrates on the social, environmental and economic impacts of the Ring of Fire Development Project in the Nishnawbe Aski Nation. The surveys and interviews held for this assessment will contribute to a report which will be easily accessible once completed.