Through a Historical Vote, Magnetawan First Nation approves its Land Code,
Community to Govern Reserve Lands and Resources
On June 20, 2015 Magnetawan First Nation voters cast their ballots to ratify their Land Code, becoming the 56th First Nation
in Canada and the 11th First Nation in Ontario to ratify the Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management
In the region, Nipissing, Dokis, Henvey Inlet and Shawanaga First Nations have enacted Land Codes. Without a Land Code,
the province and Canada may seek to expropriate reserve land for the Highway 69 expansion. Currently, the First Nation
reserve lands along Highway 69 under the protection of a Land Code, Henvey Inlet, Shawanaga and now Magnetawan,
are permanently immune from expropriation for any provincial purpose and no provincial government or agency can have
First Nation land expropriated by Canada.
The Land Code puts Magnetawan in the driver’s seat for the negotiation of the expansion of Highway 69 to four lanes.
52% of all voting age members participated. With a vote result of 96 yes votes and 14 no votes, an overwhelming majority
(86%) of the members who cast a ballot gave a clear message that the authority over land governance will be returned to
Magnetawan First Nation.
The Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management was the first real recognition that First Nations have an inherent
right to govern their own reserve lands and resources. This First Nation-conceived Framework Agreement with Canada has
expanded from the original 14 First Nation signatories in 1996, to 118 First Nations signatories in 2015.
With the overwhelming support and participation, it is strong message to the leadership and to Canada. Magnetawan
will now implement land governance, assume jurisdiction over their reserve lands and resources, and opt out of 34 l
and-related sections of the Indian Act.
It is one of the most significant historical events to take place at Magnetawan. Land management will now reflect the
unique needs and traditions of the community, provide environmental protection for the reserve land and resources,
and accelerate progress in areas such as economic development.
"The Magnetawan First Nation citizens have come forward as a whole and have delivered a clear
message that we; as an Anishinabek Nation do envision that First Nation land management are
an important step in moving forward in the direction of self government. The restoration of our inherent
right to self determination in the management of our lands and resources in a more effective and efficient
manner than under the Indian Act will provide our First Nation with greater opportunities to be more
competitive on a number of important economic development initiatives which will lead to prosperity and
economic growth and ultimately to self sufficiency."
- Chief William Diabo