Grassy Narrows Blockaders Protest Logging on 10 Year Anniversary of Blockade (Dec. 3rd)
Kenora, ON – Today, Grassy Narrows Blockaders are peacefully picketing a massive logging operation on the Caution Lake Road, 30 km north of the trans-Canada highway off Highway 671 near Kenora. The action falls on the 10 year anniversary of Grassy Narrows’ Slant Lake blockade, now the longest running Indigenous logging blockade in Canadian history. The industrial logging operation supplies Weyerhaeuser’s Trus Joist mill in Kenora. Weyerhaeuser is the only multi-national logging company in the region that refuses to commit to respecting Grassy Narrows’ right to say ‘no’ to logging. Grassy Narrows has called for a boycott of Weyerhaeuser products.
“When the forest is destroyed our people suffer. We are hoping the people of Ontario will hear our concern for protecting the forest,” said blockader Judy Da Silva, “because we all depend on the forest for clean air, fresh water, and a stable climate.”
Since the early 1970’s Grassy Narrows First Nation community members have been active in the protection of our rights, our people, and our way of life by protesting the destruction of the forest and the poisoning of our people and waters. In 1975, Dr Harada and his team of Japanese scientists first visited Grassy Narrows and began his 35 year research on the mercury poisoning of Wabaseemoong (White Dog) First Nation and Grassy Narrows (Asubpeeschoseewagong) First Nation community members. It was at this time that Grassy Narrows and White Dog community members went to Reed Paper Company in Dryden, Ontario and first protested the industry which poisons our river and destroys our forest along with the medicines, and hunting grounds that our community depends on.
On December 3, 2002 Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows) people made a stand to stop the logging in our territory that destroys our culture, and our children’s future. The community has now stopped logging trucks from passing for 10 full years and we have gained commitments from AbitibiBowater (now Resolute), Boise, Domtar, and Ainsworth to respect our right to say ‘no’ to logging. But Weyerheauser continues to seek access to log our territory, and Ontario has released a 10-year logging plan that includes dozens of clearcuts in the forests we depend on.
“The Grassy Narrows Blockaders are stronger than ever, and we have supporters around the world” said Barbara Fobister. “Any company that abuses our human rights by attempting to log on our territory will be stopped.”
Massive industrial logging operations by some of the world’s largest lumber and paper companies have degraded much of the forest that Grassy Narrows people depend on for food, culture, and livelihood. Logging practices and industrial waste have also poisoned Grassy Narrows’ river with mercury, a potent neurotoxin that has taken a devastating toll on the health and livelihood of three generations of Grassy Narrows people. The logging and associated mercury poisoning compound the trauma of hydro damming, coerced relocation, and residential schools in Grassy Narrows.
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For more information go to FreeGrassy.org
Photos of recent logging on the Caution Lake Road: