KI6 and Bob Lovelace are Free!

Written by David

Topics: Frontline Communities

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Gathering of Mother Earth Protectores - Toronto

Last week, as hundreds of supporters gathered to demand their release, Bob Lovelace and the KI6 won a ground breaking legal appeal to secure their unconditional release. The community leaders had served 4 months of a 6 month jail sentence for saying ‘no’ to mining exploration on their traditional territories.

Please read below for some important words from Robert Shimek, Mining Projects Coordinator for the Indigenous Environmental Network, and from the recently freed Chief Donny Morris of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI).

All,

It is indeed encouraging that so much progress has been made in this
effort to free our brothers and our sisters, and our communities from
the burden of being imprisoned for standing up for what is right and
just. Congratulations to all for the great work and accomplishments of
this effort. While doing so, we all should recognize that we should not
become complacent in these victories as they are accomplished. It should
be remembered that the recent victory is a part of a much larger
resistance to colonialism by Indigenous Peoples that has been occurring
in North America for hundreds of years. It should be remembered that
much of this multi-generational struggle is based in the treaties signed
between nations, or in some cases, protecting a land base because of the
lack of treaties. It is the rights of the Tribes or First Nations to
protect our land, whether we are in the U.S. or Canada, that all
citizens should be paying attention to. It is those rights, whether they
be codified in treaty, or not, that may very well be the last single,
large environmental protection tool available to all of us, regardless
of who we are or where we live on the face of this Turtle Island.

For all freedom loving people, there is much to be celebrated in the
recent victories of the KI Six, the Ardoch Algonquins, and their
supporters. Let us be hopeful that this is the first in a long string of
celebrations that will ultimately lead to true freedom and justice for
all those who have engaged this effort. The words of non-native American
legal scholar Felix S. Cohen serves as just one of the many measures of
the work behind us, as well as the work before us. In 1953, Cohen
stated, “Like the miners canary, the Indian marks the shift from fresh
air to poison gas in our political atmosphere; and our treatment of
Indians, even more that out treatment of other minorities, reflects the
rise and fall of our democratic faith.” First Nations, tribes, and all
people seeking a fair measure of justice, just took a dunking in the
poison gas of the political atmosphere that governs who are the haves,
the have mores, and the have nots. With many thanks to all who helped,
supported, volunteered, sacrificed, walked, organized, and all the other
multitude of tasks that it took to achieve this victory, those of us who
could not participate owe an immeasurable amount of gratitude and
respect for all your great efforts. Today, we are all better off because
of your work, and the political atmosphere is air is a slightly less
toxic.

The challenge before us is now, how do we get to a point where our men
and women do not have to go to prison for protecting the land that has
been under their care taking for hundreds of generations. The extractive
resource corporations and the government regulatory agencies they
purchase have not yet changed their predatory practices. There is still
much to do.

Chi miigwech
Robert Shimek
Mining Projects Coordinator
Indigenous Environmental Network

Letter from KI Chief Donny Morris
(exerpt)

June 3, 2008

Message from Chief Donny Morris:

On behalf of the KI Six and our whole community, I want to thank
everyone who worked so hard to organize the events held at Queens Park
in Toronto May 26-29. I strongly believe that we owe our freedom
largely to those events and to the people who made the Rally and
Sovereignty Sleep-Over such a great success.

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