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Prayers for Peacemakers, August 14, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, August 14, 2014

Give thanks for the people of Asubpeeschoseewagong/Grassy Narrows First Nation, who continue to stay on their land, host delegations, put on events like River Run, and pass on their traditions to their children in spite of legal, social, educational, corporate systems that are stacked against them.

Epixel* for Sunday, August 17, 2014
 Thus says the LORD: Maintain justice, and do what is right, for soon my salvation will 
come, and my deliverance be revealed. 
 Isaiah 56.1 

*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.


ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Demanding a response to mercury poisoning

135During River Run week, 28-31 July 2014, members of the Grassy Narrows First Nation obtained and responded to a 2010 scientific report commissioned by the Mercury Disability Board, which includes representatives from both the provincial and federal governments.  While not yet released to the public nor even initially shared with the community, the report confirms that community members have suffered from mercury-related neurological disorders and notes “[t]he rate of residents reporting  neurological symptoms was very high for such a small population.”

The mercury crisis affecting Grassy Narrows began in 1962, after a nearby paper mill poisoned the Wabigoon-English river system, contaminating local fish and communities.  The Dryden Chemicals pulp and paper mill leaked an estimated 9000 kilograms of mercury into the river system between 1962 and 1970.  By 1970, Grassy Narrows had to stop commercial and sport fishing due to high levels of mercury contamination.  At the time, the Ontario government maintained the fish were safe for consumption.

Neither the Ontario government nor Canada has apologized for a single case of mercury poisoning and has refused to acknowledge mercury poisoning occurred.  Health Canada stopped testing community members for mercury poisoning in the 1990’s citing minimal risk.  The report, however, demonstrates Grassy Narrows mercury survivors are not receiving necessary medical care and that the problem is ongoing due to long term impacts of past exposure and the potential for impact on fetuses and children, even at government-established “low” mercury levels

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Take Action with Grassy Narrows

 



The recent Canadian Supreme Court ruling does not affect the current five-year plan of Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) for the Whiskey Jack Forest.  This plan initially made provisions for logging to resume as early as 1 April 2014, within Grassy Narrows’ traditional territory. It does not have the consent of the people of Grassy Narrows.  Following criticism, MNR minister David Orazietti postponed the imposition of clear-cut logging for at least a year.

Clear-cut logging has already destroyed large areas of forest and impacted the traditional hunting and trapping practices of the Grassy Narrows community.  Supporters in the Toronto, Ontario area can directly support Grassy Narrows by participating in ‘River Run’ activities scheduled 28-31 July.  The events will focus on pressuring the Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne to correct the continuing perversions of justice that affect the community.

River Run events include a press conference, public speaking events to educate people from southern Ontario about Grassy Narrows’ struggle with mercury poisoning and opposition to the proposed clear-cut logging as well as a march of hundreds to Queen’s Park, to present the demands of the Grassy Narrows community.  The Grassy Narrows Women’s Drum Group will lead the week’s activities.

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE REFLECTION: The river still flows




Judy Da Silva, Slant Lake,
Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows)
October 2011

 

And the sun still shines; at least as it appears to when I look outside my window, in Toronto, Ontario.  Rains, however, have engulfed my heart and spirit, ever since I learned the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favor on Friday of Ontario’s “right” to permit industrial logging on Grassy Narrows' (Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishnabek) traditional lands.

As long as the rivers flows and the sun shines” (referencing Treaty #3) has become the cry of resistance since 3 December 2002 when two members of the Grassy Narrows community stepped in front of a logging truck hauling timber out of clear cuts, located on their traditional territory.  Their resistance has become the longest standing indigenous logging blockade in Canadian history.  Make no mistake, it will continue.

“Our supreme law is the Natural Law, and our right to live our way of life on our territory is given to us by the Creator since time immemorial.  Our grassroots women, youth and land users will continue to maintain our blockade, our boycott, and our protest along with our supporters from around the world who recognize that we are standing for all life,” wrote Judy Da Silva, Clan Mother and CPT Partner (emphasis added).

Prayers for Peacemakers July 11, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers July 11, 2014

Pray for the people of Grassy Narrows.  The Supreme Court of Canada ruled today that the Ontario government could permit industrial logging on their traditional lands today. 


Epixel for July 13, 2014



 I am severely afflicted; give me life, O LORD, according to your word. Psalm 119:107

 *epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.