September 28, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Toronto, Ontario – Today, representatives from Grassy Narrows First Nation arrived in Toronto after walking over 1800 km from their traditional territory in hopes of shedding light on the ongoing disrespect for Treaties shown by Canadian governments. The Anishnabe youth are making a stop in Toronto, on their way to Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and plan to get to the Capital on October 3, 2009.
Youth leader Chrissy Swain and the other walkers have been carrying a copy of the Paypom Treaty—an alternate version of Treaty Three—a document which is recognized by the Treaty Three Grand Council as containing a truer representation of the negotiations leading to the signing of Treaty Three whose anniversary is October 3, 1873.
“Both Provincial and Federal governments have a duty to respect the Treaties” said Chrissy Swain on her way to Toronto. “The McGuinty government has let the Ministry of Natural Resources destroy our traditional territory, and therefore many of our traditional ways – we are a People that come from the land, and depend on the land – when the land is destroyed you take away our ability to hunt, to fish and to gather medicines”.
Their arrival in Toronto coincides with a lawsuit that several trappers in Grassy Narrows have launched in hopes to preserve what is left of their trap lines, along with their rights to it. Grassy Narrows FN has been involved in a decade long battle with the Province and logging industry giants over clear-cutting on their traditional territory. Chrissy Swain, as well as the Grassy Narrows trappers involved in the lawsuit, have been integral figures in the logging blockade which started in 2002.
The youth are hoping that the walk, and their arrival at Queens Park and Parliament Hill with the treaty will serve as a reminder to the Canadian and Ontario Government, that they have an obligation to respect and uphold the treaties. The youth also hope to draw connections between environmental destruction and the destruction of communities, to open dialogue about protecting and healing the earth, as well as healing communities and the relationships between them
Chrissy Swain led a similar walk last year in May 2008, and recently completed a speaking tour of southwestern Ontario.
(Grassy Narrows First Nation)
(AW@L Solidarity Working Group)