On May 15th Grassy Narrows First Nation will be going to the Supreme Court of Canada in order to protect their lands and treaty rights.
The Keewatin appeal is the next major Aboriginal Law Case to reach the Supreme Court of Canada and covers issues of jurisdiction, duty to consult and accommodate, and treaty interpretation.
“For Treaty Nations across the country, it is hard to over-emphasize the importance of the Keewatin appeal.” (First Peoples Law, Dr. Bruce Mclvor)
Join us to celebrate their efforts at a community feast.
Thursday May 15th, 5:30pm – 8:00pm
St. Andrews Hall, 82 Kent St. (at Wellington), Ottawa
Pot luck supper with presentations from community members.
Please bring a dish to share if you are able. Please let us know what you plan to bring.
We are also seeking donations from supportive organizations and individuals to cover the costs of additional food, beverages and rental of the hall, honorarium for elder and drummers etc. Donations of any amount are appreciated.
Donations can be made through MiningWatch Canada’s PayPal account (*please be sure to add a “special instruction” when making the donation*). We will happily pick up cash and cheque donations or they can be made on the night of the supper.
Lend a Hand
Ahead of the event we can use help with fundraising and food donations.
The day of the event we would appreciate help with food prep, set up and clean up.
Ramsey Hart: firstname.lastname@example.org 613-298-4745
Tasha -Dawn Doucette: email@example.com 613-371-8274
Background to the Case
The Grassy Narrows or Keewatin case (named for Andrew Keewatin who is named in the court documents) argues that because forestry licenses issued to a large forestry corporation (now Resolute Forest Products) directly impact their treaty rights, Ontario does not have the authority to grant these licenses. Grassy Narrows sees Canada, not Ontario as their principal treaty partner. At the Ontario Superior Court, Grassy Narrows successfully argued that only the federal government has the authority to “take up” lands in the Keewatin. The decision was reversed upon appeal from Ontario and the company. During the appeal Wabauskang First Nation joined the case as they share the same treaty rights and challenges with Ontario authorizing resource extraction on their territory.
The court case is just one of the approaches Grassy Narrows has used to try and protect their land. They also have the longest standing active road blockade in Canada. The blockade controls access to part of their territory and actively monitor the territory for logging activity. In addition to facing industrial clear cut logging across their territory, Grassy is still recovering from the effects of their watershed being poisoned by mercury that was released by a pulp mill in the 1970s. Grassy is a community whose resilience, determination and resistance are an inspiration.
Links for more information:
- Grassy Narrows First Nation
- Free Grassy Solidarity Website
- Is Canada No Longer Responsible for Historical Treaties?
- The Question Behind: What are the Limits on Provincial Jurisdiction over Treaty Lands?
- Ontario Superior Court Decision
- Ontario Court of Appeal Decision