Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach and IOC sign “Aganow” agreement

The Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach and the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC), owned by Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO), signed the “Aganow” […]
The Aganow agreement aims to create opportunities for the Naskapi Nation peoples. Adobe stock photo

The Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach and the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC), owned by Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO), signed the “Aganow” agreement, which refers to “iron ore” in the Naskapi language.

This socio-economic agreement aims to create opportunities for the Naskapi people in IOC’s activities through training, development, employment and collaboration on environmental projects, and procurement. It will also protect and encourage the practice of traditional activities and provide long-term financial benefits to the Naskapi Nation.

The agreement is the result of approximately two years of negotiations. It includes an expression of regret from the IOC for its lack of understanding of the Nation’s history, culture and livelihood in the past. In recent years, IOC and the Naskapi Nation have collaborated on a number of projects, including sharing expertise with Tshiuetin Rail Transportation, of which the Naskapi Nation is a shareholder, bringing fiber optic to the community and supporting a prefeasibility study for a caribou farm project.

The community of Kawawachikamach is located near Schefferville, Que., where IOC carried out mining operations and exploration activities between 1954 and 1982. IOC’s operations straddled the Quebec-Labrador border. Approximately 975 Naskapi live in Kawawachikamach and the surrounding area today.

“Naskapi’s recent history is closely linked to that of IOC’s. Our grandparents left Fort Chimo by boat and by foot, in the 1950s, to settle in IOC’s new mining town of Schefferville and had to adapt to a completely different lifestyle. Times have changed tremendously since then and our nation now has its modern treaty, is self-governing since the 1980s and is focused on its future,” said Chief Theresa Chemaganish of the Naskapi Nation.

“Our Elders have suffered prejudice and discrimination, most often quietly. The Aganow Agreement is not a conclusion, but rather a new chapter in the reconciliation process and will hopefully help those who suffered to heal and find meaning,” Chemaganish said. 

To learn more about the agreement, visit www.RioTinto.com.

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