Grassy Narrows Celebrates 10 Years of Historic Blockade

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July ‘06 Blockade of the English River Road

On December 2, 2002 the Indigenous youth of the Grassy Narrows First Nation lay down in the path of industrial logging machines—blocking access to their tribal homeland in Northern Ontario, Canada. The action, led by women and youth, sparked the longest standing Indigenous logging blockade in North America.

Since 2004, RAN has worked closely with the Grassy Narrows community as well as activists across North America determined to stand up for Indigenous rights and defend their traditional territory from predatory logging. Together, we were able to pressure AbitibiBowater (now Resolute), the largest newsprint manufacturer in the world, to stop clear-cutting on more than 2 million acres of Grassy Narrows’ traditional territory. In 2011, a landmark judgement by the Ontario Superior Court ruled that the Government of Ontario must respect the Treaty rights of Grassy Narrows and cannot authorize an industrial activity without their consent.

And now, as a decade has passed since the historic blockade began, which RAN continues to support through small grants, the Grassy Narrows community remains ever-vigilant in the face of imminent new threats to their territory. While an appeal of the court decision will be heard early next year, the Ontario government has already released a 10-year plan calling for more logging within the heart of Grassy Narrows.

Meanwhile, Grassy Narrows is calling on supporters to show solidarity by helping to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of the blockade and the international support it catalyzed around the world. Please join them in celebrating resistance, sovereignty, and action in defense of their traditional territory and the earth. Visit FreeGrassy.org for more information.

Also, take a look at this great photo retrospective by Jon Schledewitz:

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