Rock Star Peter Moses: Fostering First Nations relationships in mining

Peter Moses' family inspired his interest in prospecting from a young age

by Jillian Clark
Group workshop photo.

The workshops Peter Moses (standing, far right) organized as the First Nations mineral development information officer with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines included training and prospecting techniques, as well as awareness of economic and job opportunities. — Photo courtesy Peter Moses

Peter Moses’ family first inspired his interest in prospecting. Their involvement in prospecting and exploration dates to the 1860s in Northern Ontario. “This is where my inspiration came from—my grandfather and my father who was a mineralization contractor in the early stages of exploration.” Moses said. 

His interest came naturally as he worked with his father. “Since I was 14, I packed up canoes and hauled back sample rocks for my father,” Moses said. “Eventually I started to learn about the mineralization and different prospecting techniques through my father. Then I developed some projects myself.” Over the years, Moses successfully optioned 34 properties while working full time at the Marathon Pulp Mill.

On top of working full-time and prospecting part-time, Moses has made it his mission to educate Indigenous youth on the opportunities available in mining, especially since his retirement from the pulp mill. He is also responsible for building positive relationships between Indigenous communities and the mining industry. His dedication to educating and building relationships mirrors the inspiration and education Moses gained from his father and grandfather at a young age.

Recently his contributions to the mining industry were formally recognized. The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) awarded Moses with the Skookum Jim Award for his work, including his prospecting achievements, as well as his dedication to educating Indigenous youth.

Peter Moses's family inspired his interest in prospecting from a young age. He remembers bringing rock samples back to his dad at age fourteen.

Peter Moses' (far left in front row) family inspired his interest in prospecting from a young age. — Photo courtesy Peter Moses

After his retirement from the pulp mill, Moses was the First Nations mineral developement informations officer with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. “I worked across the province reaching out to First Nation communities,” Moses said. He worked with 123 First Nations communities in Ontario with a focus on workshops to bring awareness to the younger generations. These workshops covered “everything from prospecting techniques, to making the students aware of the economic and job opportunities in the mining industry,” he said.

Fostering positive relationships

Aside from bringing training and mining perspectives to Indigenous communities, Moses focused on fostering positive relationships. “Building positive relationships is a key component in the mining industry,” he said. Using the experience he gained throughout his career and his personal connection to the cultural values of the First Nations, he is credited with building lasting relationships. “That’s where I’ve started to focus when building a positive relationship,” he said, “understanding each other’s perspective.”

“It’s slowly moving,” he said. However, he has watched First Nations involvement in mining grow throughout his 50 years in the industry. “We’ve seen a lot of agreements signed by First Nations across Canada. There must be some relationship building because there are agreements being signed.”

Dedicated to the Industry

Currently, Moses is the mineral development information and support officer for Matawa First Nations Management. When he isn’t working, he can be found travelling, visiting his grandchildren, fishing or indulging in current prospecting discussions with others in the industry. He still thinks about getting back into prospecting himself. One thing is clear: Moses is dedicated to the industry.

Peter Moses has dedicated his life to the mining industry. Even though he retired from prospecting, he is still heavily involved.

Moses (in front) has dedicated his life to the mining industry. Even though he retired from prospecting, he is still heavily involved. — Photo courtesy Peter Moses

Moses has retired a few times but may never retire in the traditional sense. “I never stopped being involved in prospecting, but I had to give up actual involvement in optioning properties,” he said. “It seems like I just can’t get the mining part of it out of my system. It’s because I enjoy doing it. It’s a part of my life.” This attitude is a continuation of his family’s beliefs and involvement in the industry. “My grandfather didn’t retire, and neither did my father. We work right until the end.”

Moses is proud of his continued dedication to his career. “Every moment is a proud moment for me because I am a First Nations Aboriginal. When I see a positive relationship within the industry, First Nations, and the government I think that’s great.”

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