The Controversy in Grassy Narrows Heats Up

Written by Annie Sartor

Topics: Pulp and Paper

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Tension continues to mount in Grassy Narrows. We learned over the weekend that four clan mothers in the community have built a wigwam on an isolated logging road in the northern end the community’s traditional land use area in an effort to end destruction caused by industrial development. Read the ceremony notice – 1-6-07-ceremony-notice.pdf and this update, sent by a supporter in Grassy Narrows:

“These 4 Anishinabe women are from Grassy Narrows, Ontario Asubpeeschoseewagong and are so determined to protect the forest that they have committed to spend one night on an isolated logging road to build a wigwam. They are deep in the boreal forest with a small group of supporters/advocates. Throughout this time tonight they are doing a
vigil of prayer by lighting a sacred fire and putting tobacco in that fire. The danger is the possibility of a logging truck plowing through the wigwam. These women are putting their lives in danger.”

Less than a month ago, clan mothers in Grassy Narrows delivered an eviction notice to loggers in Grassy Narrows’ traditional territory.

And just last week we learned that Frank Iaccobucci, a former Canadian Supreme Court justice appointed by the Province to negotiate with Grassy Narrows called for an emergency meeting with the community today, January 7. Iaccobucci is apparently concerned that companies in the region are feeling a lot of pressure from their customers and he wants Grassy Narrows to back off. Grassy Narrows community members have told Iaccobucci that Grassy will not back down until their demands are met, especially the moratorium on all industrial activity in their traditional territory.

As things head up in Grassy Narrows, you can support the struggle for Indigenous land rights by participating in RAN’s international day of action against OfficeMax and Grand & Toy on Jan 30. OfficeMax and Grand & Toy sell millions of dollars of paper products made from trees clearcut on Grassy Narrows’ traditional territory – contact Annie for more information and to get involved.

9 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Brant says:

    Update here’s the statement released today by Justice Iacobucci and Chief Simon Fobister:

    Joint communiqué of Frank Iacobucci and Chief Simon Fobister Toronto

    TORONTO, Jan. 7 /CNW Telbec/ – Ontario Representative Frank Iacobucci and
    representatives of Grassy Narrows First Nation, led by Chief Simon Fobister,
    jointly announce that they met today to commence discussions on
    forestry-related and other issues affecting Grassy Narrows First Nation.
    Although there were no discussions at the first meeting of substantive issues,
    Mr. Iacobucci and Grassy Narrows reviewed the issues to be discussed and a
    timetable for those discussions over the next several months. Both
    Mr. Iacobucci and Grassy Narrows re-affirmed their commitment today to this
    discussion process.

  2. Rich L T Sproul says:

    Gorgeous Grassy Narrows Forest Wilderness should be protected at any lengths ! For this grand Forest Flora and Fauna to live in Harmony !! And for all of us on this Sacred Earth !! Honor Thy Earth Truly Rich Sproul

  3. sasha says:

    i do not wnat to sound like a downer; however, while those “representatives” of the gov’t and GN chit-chat, the trees are still being clear-cut (in fact, more intensively–the industry is afraid of sthe moratorium).
    both “represent” colonial and corporate interests, not really their peoples. it’s a hierarchical model–some people in Grassy are not even included in those discussions and only know what’s going on and the communique from the media….

  4. Brant says:

    Sasha–thanks for your thoughts. We’re certainly aware that the clear cuts continue. That’s why we’re asking folks to help us keep the pressure on in the marketplace. Negotiations aren’t going to go anywhere unless Grassy can show that they have a support network that can make a difference.

  5. Doug Fontaine says:

    Let us not overlook the mercury poisioning of the English River that flows through Grassy Narrows. The removal of forest by fire or logging releases (stored on land) mercury, deposited in the forest from the burning of coal. A massive mercury spill from an upstream paper plant poisioned the English River some years ago, removal of adjacent forests will slow the watershead recovery. We camp on the English for a week each year and limit our fish comsunption to one meal of small fish. I feel terrible for the people that live in Grassy Narrows and the destruction of their best source of food by greedy corporations unwilling to harvest wood in a substainable eco-friendly manner. I will be contacting all of my fishing buddies and will let Office Max hear my objections to their short sighted activities.

  6. Claire Keigley says:

    I have been going to the English river for over 16 years now and have sent over 200plus people from Iowa there each year. We all enjoy the peace and solidarity and the natural beauty that God put on this earth in the whiskey river area
    around Grassy Narrows. We are always welcomed there by the
    people who run the Grassy Lodge and Marina with the respect
    of the those that make sure our vacations are the best. I have noticed the land changes that are taking place more
    year. I agree with the Grassy Narrow people in the fight to keep their rightful land that is threatening their enviroment and health. Can their not be a place on earth that people can enjoy what was given to them by the creator
    without money hungry industries that destroy it? I for one in America that will boycot the products of office max and
    others that sell the products that come out of that territory. There has to be another area they can obtain their wood from without harming the envirement and keeping the people from carrying on their tradional way of life.

  7. priscilla settee says:

    In solidarity with the people of GN, in fact the world

  8. Samuel Poe says:

    It is extremely good to understand that the Anishinabek from Grassy Narrows are standing up to defend their country. If not for the courage of the Grassy Narrows Anishinabek, the whites would have already developed all of northwestern Ontario, to Hudson Bay. When are the Grassy Narrow Anishinabek going to unite with the Anishinabek who live along the eastern shores of Lake Winnipeg, and the Anishinabek the whites are attempting to force to lose their identity (the Oji-Cree or Anishinini) who live just to the north of the Grassy Narrows Anishinabek? There is a huge area from the Anishinabek First Nations of northeastern Manitoba, and along the eastern shores of Lake Winnipeg, all the way to the eastern shores of James Bay, where the Anishinabe continue to live off their land. As for how many Anishinabe continue to fish, hunt and trap for a livelihood on that land just mentioned, is not correctly known but since that land is not developed, i realize the Anishinabek are exploiting their land.

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