Recent CPTnet stories

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.

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE REFLECTION: Amplification

CPT takes seriously its mission of listening to marginalized people and speaking their truth to a wider audience.  For this reason, our delegation met community members in Grassy Narrows who represent their community’s interests in negotiations with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), logging companies, and before the courts.

Our host, Andrew Keewatin (Shoon), is building manager and leader of the Trappers’ Centre.  Within the community, Shoon runs AA meetings and teaches children traditional skills like building canoes, snowshoes, and drums, filleting fish, and tanning hide to make moccasins. 

In recent years the MNR licensed logging companies to clearcut sections of forest on his land.  Occasionally he has been able to negotiate with the MNR to preserve bands of forest connecting water sources or to spare trees that have little commercial value.  But in the end, the MNR decides where and when logging companies may cut down forests, not the people who have lived and worked on the land and for generations.




Community member Cheryl Fobister at blockade

When a logging company constructed a road within kilometers of Grassy Narrows, disregarding the wishes of the community, the conflict with the Grassy Narrows community came to a head.  On a cold December afternoon in 2002, three youth blocked the road by cutting down nearby trees.  This bold action brought the people of Grassy Narrows together to form a blockade, an expression of nonviolent resistance that they had been contemplating for some time.

Among the countless people that participated in the blockade, Judy Da Silva emerged as a strong advocate.  Mrs. Da Silva has watched logging companies enter her Nation’s territory for years, clearcut vast swathes of forest, and disregard the concerns her community expressed.  She is a protector of the forest and of the broader ecosystem on behalf of her children and her children’s children.  For her, dispossessing First Nations of their land, refusing to investigate the murder of 1000 First Nations women and the disappearance of 200 more, poisoning the English-Wabigoon River system with mercury, and disregarding the wishes of First Nations peoples for the use of their territory are all connected by a White settler ideology that values only those things that can be converted into money.

Prayers for Peacemakers May 28, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers May 28, 2014

Pray that Supreme Court of Canada will render a just decision, now that it has finished hearing the case presented by the Grassy Narrows’ Trappers that they have rights guaranteed by Treaty and Higher Authority to use their traditional lands.

Epixel* for June 1, 2014

 Rain in abundance, O God, you showered abroad; you restored your heritage when it languished;
your flock found a dwelling in it;  in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy. Psalm 68: 9-10

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