The Chiefs of Treaty #3 First Nations in assembly voted unanimously to support Grassy Narrows First Nation in their demands for mercury justice and an end to clear cut logging on their Homeland. United as one, the Grand Council of Treaty 3 is calling on the government of Ontario to cancel the part of the Whiskey Jack Forest Management Plan specific to Grassy Narrows Homeland.
The full press release (below) and link to PDF of media release.
Nov. 5., 2014
Grand Council Treaty #3 supports Grassy Narrows in their stand for mercury justice and their stand against clear cut logging.
Seine River, ON – The Chiefs of Treaty #3 First Nations in assembly voted unanimously to support Grassy Narrows First Nation in their demands for mercury justice and an end to clear cut logging on their Homeland. United as one, the Grand Council of Treaty 3 is calling on the government of Ontario to cancel the part of the Whiskey Jack Forest Management Plan specific to Grassy Narrows Homeland. A second resolution supports Grassy Narrows in their negotiations with Ontario towards greater control over culture, economy, and environment on their homeland.
”We stand together with Grassy Narrows in defending our Treaty rights and our nationhood on our indigenous homeland against the genocide of a people,” said Treaty 3 Ogichidaa Warren White. “The days when corporations and governments could push us around are over. Decisions about our homelands will be made with us, or not at all.”
An expert report commissioned by the Mercury Disability Board found that health care and compensation for mercury survivors in Grassy Narrows is outdated and inadequate. Japanese experts have confirmed that people in Grassy Narrows are still suffering from mercury poisoning that began when nine tonnes of mercury were dumped into their river in the 1960`s.
In December 2013, Ontario approved a ten year Forest Management Plan for Grassy Narrows homeland against Grassy Narrows loud objections. The plan makes exclusive use of clear cut logging, a practice that has been linked to unsafe levels of mercury in boreal fish. Grassy Narrows people are also concerned that the plan will impact their Treaty right to hunt, trap, and practice their culture. Under the plan, logging on Grassy Narrows homeland can begin as soon as April 2015.
“Our community has said no to clear cut logging because we need to protect our ability to feed our families and to practice our culture and economy on our homeland,” said Chief Roger Fobister Sr. of Grassy Narrows. “We don`t want clear cut logging to chase away our animals and release even more mercury poison into our water and into the fish that we eat. We want to decide what happens on our homeland so that we can recover from the damage caused by mercury and rebuild the strength of our proud community.”
“The support of the Treaty #3 Chiefs in Assembly is very important in our struggle to protect the land and water,” said Grassy Narrows Clan Mother Judy Da Silva. “The theme they had for that assembly was “Protecting our lands and resources for the future,” which was why we decided to attend this meeting and to create awareness about Ontario Premier Wynne’s plan to log in our Anishinaabe territory. We will continue to advocate on behalf of our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren in any way we can.”
Grassy Narrows is home to Canada’s longest running logging blockade which started in 2002 when grassroots mothers, youth, and land users stood in the path of heavy clearcut logging machinery. Logging on Grassy Narrows Homeland has been halted since 2008 when newsprint giant Abitibi Bowater (now Resolute) withdrew under intense pressure from blockades, boycotts, and legal action.
For more information contact:
Grand Council Treaty #3: Candace Morrisseau, Executive Assistant to Ogichidaa Warren White
Grassy Narrows Chief Roger Fobister Sr.