“I’m prepared to go to jail for my belief in my land.”
Those words were spoken by Chief Donny Morris in a Thunder Bay Ontario courtroom on
January 25th. With those words it became crystal clear that Chief Morris and his small
fly-in community can not, and will not back down in their stand to protect their
traditional territory from unwanted exploitation.
For two years the community has stood strong in the face of government and industry pressure, hardball negotiatons, and a 10 Billion dollar lawsuit. Now the community is preparing for the very real threat of jail time for community leaders who continue to deny access to the mining company Platinex that is trying to drill samples aimed at developing a mine near the Native Community. Community leaders say are confident that if they go to jail other leaders will stand up in their place and hundreds of others will be ready to step up to defend their rights, their sustenance, their spirituality, and the future of their children.
KI is one of at least 9 communities in Northern Ontario who have declared moratoriums on industry in their territories. Those communities are part of a federation whose combined territories in Ontario’s Boreal forest encompass an intact forest area larger than all US roadless areas combined.
This is a landscape of hope where there is a still a chance to do things right for the land and its peoples. Communities like KI are showing us the way by standing up for their rights, their land, and securing a hopeful future for all peoples by creating a powerful movement of self-determining, proud communities protecting the sources of life and livelihood that we all depend on.
I believe that our best shot at renewing our society through respect for humanity and ecology is by supporting communities like KI and organizing our own communities to stand up for earth and justice in our own backyards.