Victory in Grassy Narrows!

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Victory in Grassy Narrows!



[url=]Abitibi pulls out.[/url]


One of the world's biggest logging companies has pulled out of a Northern Ontario forest because of opposition from a small local Indian community.

AbitibiBowater Inc. said it will surrender its licence to cut trees in the Whiskey Jack forest, about an hour's drive north of Kenora, because it can't wait for negotiations, recently announced by the province, that the company says will take at least four years.

The million-hectare forest is on land claimed by Grassy Narrows First Nation, which has been backed in a five-year blockade and publicity campaign by environment and human rights groups.


I hope this brings a better life to these long suffering people. They were the victims of mercury poisoning from effluent caused by a mill upstream from their reserve. Nothing they get can make up for what they lost.

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Logging permits can be issued on First Nations land: court - Thunder Bay - CBC News

The Ontario government has won an appeal of a landmark ruling involving First Nations treaty rights.

In a decision released Monday, the province's court of appeal said the Ontario government has the authority to issue logging permits on Grassy Narrows First Nation's traditional territory.

The government argued it had "exclusive proprietary jurisdiction over public lands and in forests in the province." The First Nation maintained a treaty with Canada protected its hunting and trapping rights.

This latest ruling overturns a 2011 Superior Court decision that sided with Grassy Narrows.

(there likely will be an appeal because this sets precedent which other provinces will be looking at)

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Grassy Narrows teens ejected from Ontario legislature for protest

A group of teenagers from the remote Grassy Narrows First Nation were ejected from the Ontario legislature today for wearing T-shirts reading: “water is sacred.”

The teens travelled 1,700 kilometres from the northern reserve near the Manitoba border to demand the province take action to clean up the mercury that has poisoned local rivers, lakes and fish _ and made people sick _ for decades.

A report released earlier this week said it was possible for the mercury to be safely cleaned up, but the government is reluctant to take action without more study on what exactly should be done.

Premier Kathleen Wynne told the legislature the government wants to make sure any remediation efforts won’t stir up more mercury in sediment and make the situation even worse.

The teens from Grassy Narrows then put on identical T-shirts with their message that water is sacred, but that’s considered a protest in the legislature so the Speaker had them removed from the house....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

'Healthy river, healthy people': 1,000+ march for justice for Grassy Narrows

Youth from the Grassy Narrows First Nation led a throng of supporters from Queen's Park to Allen Gardens in the fourth River Run since 2010. 

People of Grassy Narrows, an Ojibwa First Nation from Treaty Three territory, say its time for action, placing the onus heavily on Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to act on the recommendations put forth in a scientific study released days before the rally held Thursday.

"Today we walk away from Parliament," said Judy Da Silva, a mother, grandmother, and activist leader, standing before Queen's Park in Toronto on Thursday.

"We've always walked towards it to seek answers to our mercury pollution that's in our river. But today we walk away because we feel like enough is enough."

The sentiment was widely echoed....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Grassy Narrows to Ontario: No Reconciliation Without Clean Water

First Nation ramps up pressure on province to clean mercury in their water as experts confirm that river system can be remediated


Reconciliation with First Nations requires action

Ontario's inability to clean up Grassy Narrows is indicative of injustices that have been playing out for decades

On the surface, it seemed like unfortunate political timing. On May 30th, Kathleen Wynne apologized for historic abuses toward indigenous peoples as part of her official response to the Truth and Reconciliation commission. “We do not approach reconciliation as something we need to get over with — we approach it as something we need to get right,” she said.

And yet, just an hour later, she was getting heat in Question Period for getting it very wrong in her response to an environmental crime-in-progress on indigenous land that has been going on for almost 60 years....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

'Guilt' drives former Dryden, Ont. mill worker to reveal his part in dumping toxic mercury

A former employee of the paper mill in Dryden, Ont., has written a letter describing what he says is a hidden dump of dozens of mercury barrels that could be the source of on-going health concerns downstream at Grassy Narrows First Nation.

Mercury contamination from Reed Paper's chemical plant in Dryden during the 1960s and 70s is a well-studied environmental disaster.

But a recent government-funded report by environmental scientists revealed there is an on-going, yet unknown, source of mercury in the water where people at Grassy Narrows continue to catch and eat fish, their staple food.

"I am writing this letter out of guilt and possibly to share some info you might not be aware of," Kas Glowacki writes in an email sent last summer and obtained this week by CBC News.

Glowacki says in the letter that he worked at the mill in 1972 as a labourer and as part of his job he filled more than 50 barrels with a mixture of mercury and salt and then drop them in a pit....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

6 charged after Grassy Narrows protest at Queen's Park

Six people were charged with multiple offences after a protest on Thursday at Queen's Park about mercury poisoning on the Grassy Narrows reserve — in which demonstrators dumped grey liquid outside the Legislature.

The six are due to appear in a Toronto courtroom on Friday. 

Protesters dumped the liquid just before 10:30 a.m. in front of the steps to the Legislature. Security asked people to move back from the liquid on to the lawn and then police pushed people back farther to the south end of the lawn "for safety," according to officers on the scene. 

Toronto firefighters on scene tried to figure out what the substance was, but one protester told the crew that it was corn starch with water and soluble paint. 

One of the protesters told CBC News that if the spill were in Grassy Narrows "the government would take 50 years to find out what the grey stuff is."...

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Mercury levels enough to impact children’s brain development: report

The level of mercury found in the umbilical cords of babies in Grassy Narrows First Nation was high enough to affect their brain development, according to a new report obtained by the Star.

Between 1978 and 1994 Health Canada tested the umbilical cord blood of 139 infants in Grassy Narrows.

“At these cord blood concentrations, there is consensus from the scientific literature that there would be effects on children’s neurodevelopment,” the report, written by Dr. Donna Mergler, says.

In the report, the leading expert reviews decades of scientific research on mercury’s effects and highlights the hidden impact of contamination on a community.

Mergler said that what recent science tells us is that mercury poisoning occurs at low levels previously thought harmless. At these low levels, a fetus is vulnerable to cognitive damage even if the child’s mother does not show signs of poisoning.

The scientist, whose research specializes in the effects of environmental pollutants such as mercury, wrote it was “surprising” that although world-renowned Japanese researchers had identified many cases of mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows, there has never been a “scientifically sound” community-wide examination of pre- and postnatal mercury contamination....

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Grassy Narrows Land Declaration Bans All Industrial Logging


The Declaration comes as the new Ontario government under Premier Doug Ford has promised to open up the North to industry, and plans to next year begin writing a plan for another decade of industrial logging in the community’s forest.

The Declaration released by Chief and Council to build on a community referendum supported by three quarters of voters in the community in 2015 is a collective document asserting Indigenous rights, rather than waiting for the government or the courts to grant it. In doing so Grassy Narrows First Nation is enacting its inherent sovereignty.


Asubpeeschoseewagong Anishinabek Aaki Declaration

 [Grassy Narrows First Nation Land Declaration]


  1. We are the Indigenous people of this land.
  2. We love our land and our way of life.
  3. Our land and our way of life are under attack.
  4. Industrial logging makes our ongoing mercury crisis worse.
  5. We stand by the decisions of our people.
  6. We declare our Anishinabe Territory an Indigenous Sovereignty and Protected Area. We will make our own decisions and there will be no industrial logging on our Anishinabe Territory.
  7. We exercise our right of self-determination to ban certain land uses on our Indigenous homeland, and allow others.
  8. We will rebuild our livelihood and enjoy our Anishinabe way of life again.
  9. We demand compensation for our losses and support for good jobs to heal our people and our forest.
  10. We will enforce our Declaration under our own authority. We call on Ontario and Canada to recognize our Declaration.