Current Problems


First Nations’ Rights and Interests Must Be Part of the Future of Forests

February 15, 2024

NationTalk: WENDAKE, QC – A consultation meeting is scheduled this morning between First Nations and the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et des Forêts (MRNF) as part of the Round Tables on the Future of the Forest. This process was announced in November 2023 by Minister Maïté Blanchette Vézina.

This new initiative by the Quebec government must translate into concrete actions and measures that respect the rights and interests of First Nations. They are inseparable from the future of our forests and the forestry activities that derive from it.

“It’s clear that the Quebec government is not doing enough to respect the rights of First Nations on the territory, especially when it comes to logging. The consultations carried out by the MRNF are superficial. Decisions are made unilaterally. Things have to change,” says Lance Haymond, Chief of the Kebaowek First Nation.

Thus, the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) reiterates that First Nations hold ancestral rights over their territories and resources. These rights include the right to use and occupy land, to own land, to enjoy economic benefits, and to use and manage their land proactively.

“It’s time the government stopped seeing the forest only as an economic engine for the forest industry. This extremely rich environment and the wildlife that inhabits it are affected by this development, as demonstrated by the situation of the caribou. We need to implement structuring projects to ensure its future, in particular by establishing more protected areas on the territory,” declares Martin Dufour, Chief of the Essipit Innu First Nation.

Consequently, the AFNQL believes that considerable efforts must be made by the Minister, and the government as a whole, to promote conservation of the territory, free, prior and informed consent, co-management of the territory and royalty sharing, as set out in the Lands and Resources Declaration adopted in November 2021 by all the Chiefs. First Nations have repeatedly voiced their concerns and proposed various solutions to address these issues.

”All development within First Nations territories must respect the principles set out in the Declaration, and the government cannot disregard them.” declares Ghislain Picard, Chief of the AFNQL

This consultation on the future of the forest represents an opportunity for the government to implement them.

About the AFNQL

The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador is the regional political organization that brings together 43 First Nations Chiefs in Quebec and Labrador.

About the FNQLSDI

The First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Sustainable Development Institute (FNQLSDI) was created in 2000 by the Chiefs of the AFNQL. Its mission is to collaborate with First Nations in implementing their vision of sustainable development.

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador

For further information: Francis Verreault-Paul, AFNQL, Chief of Staff,, 514-546-7878 –