The Union of Ontario Indians wants to leverage native land rights into a growing role in the province's renewable energy sector. The advocacy group, made up of 42 First Nations in the province, organised a series of community engagement meetings in late January and early February to identify potential opportunities and partnerships. "It may not seem logical that First Nations are talking opportunity and economic benefit during a recession. But for First Nations, the opportunity for involvement in energy development hasn't been more ideal. Unlike others, we have a great deal to offer and not much to lose," says Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief John Beaucage. Potential opportunities, he says, include wind power development along the Great Lakes as well as more biomass and small-scale hydro projects. A planned north-south transmission line to bring wind and hydro from northern Ontario, he adds, must pass through the Anishinabek Nation's territory.
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