May 15 – Celebrate Land and Treaty Rights Defenders Grassy Narrows First Nation

 

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.

https://www.facebook.com/events/318301988316981/
 

Please Donate

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.

 

Contact

Ramsey Hart: ramsey@miningwatch.ca 613-298-4745

Tasha -Dawn Doucette: solacetash@yahoo.ca 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 Blockade – 10 years in resistance (Ottawa solidarity event Dec 5th)

click image to print poster

December 2nd, 2002 is the date when the courageous indigenous people of Grassy Narrows Ontario decided to halt further clear cutting of their forests.

To mark the 10th anniversary of the ongoing blockade, we are holding a film-screening and follow-up talk in solidarity.

7:00PM Wednesday December 5th

University of Ottawa, Faculty of Social Sciences Building, 4th Floor, Room 4006

(FSS building on map: http://uottawa.ca/maps)

Video “As Long as the Rivers Flow – The Grassy Narrows Blockade Story” by David Clement and Thunder Bay Indymedia
*preview:

There will be questions and discussions afterward with Craig Benjamin of Amnesty International. Craig has spent some time at Grassy Narrows.

Event hosted by IPSMO (Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa) and Amnesty International.

— print poster (pdf, 8.5×11)

Harper Targeted First Nations for Increased Surveillance

Harper targeted First Nations for increased surveillance, fears Native “unrest,”
newly released government documents show

Money for housing on reserves slashed, money for surveillance of Natives increased

For immediate release: June 13, 2011

Newly exposed internal documents from Indian Affairs and the RCMP show that shortly after forming government in January of 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper had the federal government step up intelligence gathering on First Nations to anticipate and manage First Nations political action across Canada.

Information obtained by the First Nations Strategic Bulletin through Access to Information requests reveals that almost immediately upon Harper’s taking power in 2006, the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) was given the lead role to spy on First Nations. The goal was to identify the First Nation leaders, participants and outside supporters of First Nation occupations and protests, and to closely monitor their actions.

To accomplish this task, INAC established a “Hot Spot Reporting System.” These weekly reports highlight all those communities across the country that engage in direct action to protect their lands and communities. They include Tsartlip First Nation, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, Six Nations, Grassy Narrows, the Likhts’amsiyu Clan of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, and many more.

“Rather than listening to the needs of First Nations communities Harper is making plans to use force to stifle the dissent that inevitably arises from chronic poverty and dispossession in Native communities,” said Russell Diabo, Mohawk policy analyst, in response. “First Nations education and housing is chronically under-funded, but policing and surveillance of legitimate Indigenous movements is always a priority.”

The documents reveal that First Nations are a closely monitored population who are causing a panic at the highest levels of the Canadian government.

Says Gord Elliot of Tsartlip First Nation, “Obviously trust and good faith are expected when working with INAC, the RCMP and other agencies of the Government. We are outraged to discover these same Ministries are spying on us. We were identified as a ‘hotspot’ because we had a roadblock demonstration to voice our concerns about the Treaty process and non-acknowledgment of Section 35 Constitutional Rights and Title.
We felt we had no choice because the Canadian Government won’t acknowledge our Constitutionally protected Aboriginal Rights and Title.”

For more information and to obtain original documents, contact:
Shiri Pasternak, media spokesperson: 647-227-6696

Media Spokespeople:

Russell Diabo, editor and publisher, First Nations Strategic Bulletin: 613-296-0110
Gord Elliot, Councillor, Tsartlip First Nation: 250-883-3970
Shawn Brant, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory: 613- 813-2057

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July 9: Grassy Narrows Youth Leader Speaks Out

Chrissy Swain will speak and will be presenting a new documentary
Thursday, July 9
Umi Café at 6pm
610 Somerset St. W
ipsmo@riseup.net
https://ipsmo.wordpress.com

Chrissy Swain, a Grassy Narrows youth leader and mother will be speaking about the ongoing struggles for healing and land protection at Grassy Narrows. Chrissy will also present a new documentary about the history of the conflict there.

She is speaking out in order to draw attention to links 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.

Since arriving in Southern Ontario last week, Chrissy Swain has already visited the Anishnabe protest camp at Dump Site 41 in Tiny Township, had a presence at the rally in solidarity with Six Nations against the formation of the Caledonia Militia in Cayuga, participated in the Peace Caravan to Akwesasne, and spoke on stage in front of over 1000 music fans at the Propaghandi concert on June 26 in Toronto.

Last year, Chrissy led a group of 22 youth from Grassy Narrows (and a few other First Nations communities), on the Protecting Our Mother Walk—over 1800 kilometres from Grassy Narrows to Toronto—which became a catalyst for the Gathering of Mother Earth Protectors and Sovereignty Sleepover last May at Queens Park, where the message was:

*Respect the right of First Nations to say no to economic exploitation and environmental destruction, no criminalisation of land protectors.*

* *

This year, Chrissy is planning another walk which is scheduled to leave from Grassy Narrows for Ottawa on August 24th.  This year’s walk will bring together representatives from communities across the province to deliver a united message to Ottawa that the rights of First Nations must be honoured and land protectors must not be criminalised.

Chrissy has been an integral leader in the Grassy Narrows resistance to logging on their territory, in the empowerment of youth, and the traditional resurgence of Anishnabe culture that is taking place in their community.

On December 2nd, 2002, the youth of the Grassy Narrows First Nation established a blockade on a logging road in their territory, and sparked what is now the longest standing and highest profile indigenous logging blockade in Canadian history. Grassy Narrows (Asubpeeschoseewagong) is a small Anishnabe community about 80 kilometres north of Kenora in Northwest Ontario. *The Grassy Narrows community has been through many traumas including relocation, residential schools, mercury contamination, flooding of sacred grounds and burial sites, and clearcut logging of their traditional territory. However, resistance is strong at Grassy Narrows where people are actively resisting the continued destruction of their territories, re-occupying their lands, reviving their culture and fighting for the right to manage their land as they see fit. ***

This tour, for Chrissy is a spiritual journey inspired by dreams and recent incidents. Chrissy and Grassy Narrows organizer Judy Dasilva visited the site of the Macintosh Residential School near Kenora. There, behind the old school site, instead of a memorial, they found several large hydro towers right at the site of the graves of those children who died at the school, disrespecting their memory.  Following the visit, Chrissy had dreams telling her that this was to be a symbol of the connection between the destruction of Indigenous lands, and the destruction of their communities. She began planning a second Protecting Our Mother Earth Walk that had been tentatively scheduled to leave Grassy Narrows on June 15.

The recent and ongoing standoff at Akwesasne is a spiritual sign to her that the time for the journey is imminent. The events of Friday June 12 (when the OPP brutally raided a solidarity blockade in Tyendinaga, and also escalated the police crackdown on protests by women from the Beausoleil First Nation who are camped at Dump Site 41) were a signal to Chrissy to forgo the walk across Northern Ontario so that she could be here now, talking to people in both settler and Indigenous communities, trying to build solidarity and support for communities engaged in land protection struggles, and to work towards healing.

“The government does not understand that words are not good enough. Talking ‘green’ and making empty apologies that don’t actually deal with real issues is not good enough. We have to *protect* the land—protect our Mother Earth. I want to tell Harper that apologies are not good enough. Canada needs to give proper respect to the victims, families and survivors of the residential schools. We need Canada to recognize the damage those schools have done to our communities and cultures, and we need an end to the destruction of our lands, and an end to native people being criminalised when they stand up for their rights to protect their lands, their cultures, and their communities.”
-Chrissy Swain, June 2009

Upcoming Events:

  • London, July 4*.  Empowerment Infoshop, 636 Queens Ave, 6-9pm. pbd.
  • Hamilton, July 7*.  Sky Dragon Centre, 27 King William St, 6-9pm. pbd.
  • Ottawa, July 9*.  Umi Cafe, 610 Somerset St W, 6-9pm.
  • Brockville, July 10*. St. Paul’s Anglican Church, 37 Victoria Ave, 7-9pm.