MONTREAL – The Innu First Nations of Uashat mak Mani-utenam and Matimekush-Lac John made the trip to doorstep of IOC and parent Rio Tinto‘s headquarters here to return two large iron ore boulders. The event was organized to protest the lack of a benefits agreement between the Innu and the iron miner.
The stones were originally erected in the Innu communities of Uashat and Mani-utenam in September 1970 to mark 100 years since the discovery of the iron ore deposits in northern Quebec.
“These stones represent the only thing we have ever received from all of IOC/Rio Tinto’s mining developments on our lands. Our peoples have yet to receive any revenue, compensation, indemnity or royalties whatsoever from IOC/Rio Tinto,” stated chief Mike McKenzie of Uashat mak Mani-utenam. “We have already reached agreements with all of the other iron ore mining companies, four in total, in our territory.”
Returning these “stones of shame” is the kick-off of an Innu campaign called “IOC/Rio Tinto must pay its rent.” The campaign follows four years of fruitless negations between the sides.
Last month the Innu won the right to sue IOC, and the aboriginal leaders intend to proceed with their $900 million lawsuit against IOC and its subsidiary QNS&L.
To learn more about the Pay The Rent campaign or to donate, please http://IOC-RioTinto-Innu.com/