After a 9 month peaceful and lawful occupation, the stage is set for respectful discussions.
Ian McInroy reports for the Barrie Examiner in First Nations and MNR to enter into talks about Springwater Park’s future:
Beausoleil First Nation and the MNR have agreed to enter into discussions to ensure the interest of Camp Nibi — as a group of First Nations women who have occupied the park have renamed it — and its traditional, cultural and spiritual education activities continues. Since April there have been ceremonies, teachings, potluck suppers and a connection with the land and the surrounding community.
“The traditional territories of Beausoleil First Nation will be protected and our teachings and ceremony will continue. Camp Nibi and Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge will have a voice in the planning and development of the park lands for the continued use of all in the future,” said Elizabeth Brass Elson, one of the original protesters.
From the Ministry of Natural Resources:
Jolanta Kowalski, of the MNR, said there is still much to do in regards to the park’s future.
“The ministry is pleased to be working with Beausoleil First Nation to discuss a future partnership for the operation of Springwater Provincial Park,” she said. “The ministry has committed to working with the First Nations. However at this time, an agreement has not been signed and details of the partnership have not been determined.
“We appreciate the interests expressed by the First Nation individuals who had occupied the park and respect their commitment to First Nation traditions and culture. The public can continue to enter the park and enjoy the use of the park for activities like hiking or snowshoeing.”
Kowalski re-iterated that the park is not closed and that the province and the MNR, which took over the area in 1958, is not considering selling it.
Ontario Parks has existing partnerships with other organizations and municipalities to operate other provincial parks, she added.
“Kowalski re-iterated that the park is not closed and that the province and the MNR…is not considering selling it.”
A very large thank you is in order from the community to the core three ladies and their supporters.