Today Grassy Narrows First Nation addressed an expert committee of the United Nations which is currently reviewing Canada and Ontario’s record on human rights. Grassy Narrows is calling on the UN to hold Canada to account for failing to clean up mercury poison in their river and neglecting to provide safe tap water.
On December 2nd Grassy Narrows celebrated 13 years of the Slant Lake Blockade. In 2002 youth, women, landusers, and elders put their bodies on the line to stop the clearcut logging of their homeland and to protect their health,way of life and rights.
Read on for statements from grassroots blockaders and friends of Grassy Narrows.
Today the Grassy Narrows First Nation is filing legal proceedings against Ontario asking the Divisional Court to overturn provincial plans for a decade of clearcut logging on Grassy Narrows’ homeland.
This small Indigenous community fears that clearcut logging will release mercury into local waterways further poisoning local fish and people who are already bearing the burden of mercury that was dumped into their river by a paper mill in the 1960s. Grassy Narrows alleges that the logging plan will prolong and deepen the ongoing tragedy of mercury poisoning in their community and therefore violates their Charter rights to security and freedom from discrimination. This could become the first case to successfully use the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to protect people against harm and discrimination arising from environmental degradation.
LATEST RELEASE: Feds waited 15 years to act on tainted tap water in Grassy Narrows.
Grassy Narrows – Today the Grassy Narrows First Nation is declaring a state of emergency over unsafe drinking water conditions in the community. The community is delivering bottled water door to door to ensure that their families, many of which have already been impacted by mercury poisoning, have safe drinking water. Drinking water tests done by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment found turbidity at a level 120 times the safety limit. Chemicals that are possible human carcinogens were also present at elevated levels. (more…)
Mercury levels rising in the sediment of some lakes
Grassy Narrows: A newly released government commissioned report has found that mercury levels in the sediment of Grassy Narrows’ Wabigoon River remain up to 20 times above natural levels, while fish are up to 15 times above consumption guideline levels. This places the river above the frequent adverse effects level – the highest risk threshold used by Environment Canada to trigger remediation in the St. Lawrence environmental risk assessment. The Wabigoon River is the site of one of Canada’s most infamous ongoing environmental health disasters which began when 9,000 kg of mercury were dumped by a paper mill upstream in the 1960’s. No clean-up has been done even though multiple generations of Grassy Narrows families have been poisoned by the mercury.
Check out media reports on this story