First Nations in Ontario's resource-rich 'Ring of Fire' to receive negotiation boost

Retired Canadian politician Bob Rae is set to focus on his role as chief negotiator for the Matawa First Nations communities in northern Ontario.

Rae, former interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, recently stepped down as MP in order to dedicate his time to First Nations affairs.

"This is not about money, this is about time. I'm not being paid for my work in the North," Rae said in a news conference yesterday.

"The passion and the enthusiasm that I feel for the First Nations of Canada, the need for a different kind of partnership between Canada's first people and those of us who've come later on, is absolutely necessary."

Allan Towegishig, chief of the Long Lake #58 nation, expressed delight that Rae would have significantly more time to represent the rights of his nation and neighbouring nations.

The First Nations groups are looking to get "the maximum" out of mining projects in the resource-rich "Ring of Fire," roughly 500 km north of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The Black Thor chromite mine and the Eagle's Nest nickel and copper mine are in early stages of development, and therefore still open to influence by the will of local First Nations communities.