In the News
Indigenous Nations Assert Their Authority and Defend Their Rights
Important Demands of Grassy Narrows First Nation
– Philip Fernandez –
The Ojibway community of Grassy Narrows (Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation) is back in court fighting for their rights. Located 80 kilometres northeast of Kenora near the Manitoba border, Grassy Narrows is known to the world for the genocidal mercury poisoning inflicted on them by Canadian governments and the corporate interests they represent.
The Indigenous nation filed a claim on November 15, 2021 at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice demanding the Ontario government withdraw nine mining permits issued between 2018 and 2021. They are also demanding that no further permits be issued without the consent of and negotiated agreement with the First Nation.
The Ontario government is planning to renew industrial logging on Grassy Narrows land in violation of the moratorium imposed by the First Nation in January 2007 on all outside economic activities in their territory.
More than 90 per cent of the First Nation members still suffer mercury contamination from the cumulative impacts of industrial activities carried out by corporations and governments of the Crown without regard for the natural or human environment.
Chief Randy Fobister said “the forest is our treatment centre” for the Grassy Narrows path to healing. He said the First Nation demands the government “stop logging and mining so the land can heal. Good land will heal our people from all the damage the government has been pushing on us.”
Indigenous sovereignty and land back is at the heart of the issue of relations between the Crown, represented by Canadian governments, and Indigenous peoples.
(Renewal Update, posted January 22, 2022)