Longest running First Nations blockade effectively stopped logging since December 2002
The Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation (Grassy Narrows) is on alert for logging trucks to come in April 2014. Grassy Narrows is the home of the longest running First Nations blockade in Canada. Its original Slant Lake blockade site, about 100 km north of Kenora, Ontario, started on December 2, 2002.
Judy DaSilva is a member of Grassy Narrows First Nation and has been on the forefront right from the start. “As a mom, I’ll do whatever I can to protect the forests, pretty much the other moms around here have the same mindset,” said DaSilva a mother of five with concern for the future generations.
In 2002, DaSilva was tired of seeing mercury debilitate her people, watching logging trucks pass by her home and took action.
Last year, DaSilva won a Michael Sattler Peace Prize from the German Mennonite Peace Committee for her non-violent direct-action approach in the blockade at Grassy Narrows traditional territory, within the Treaty 3 region. Logging halted for over 11 years, but in the past few months things are picking up once again.
Clear-cut logging plans persist
In December 2013, Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources finalized and approved a 10-year Forest Management Plan (FMP), originally introduced in 2011.
“Under this plan, there are no planned harvest blocks located within the Grassy Narrows’ self-identified traditional land use area,” said Minister David Orazietti in a statement on November 6, 2013.
Orazietti’s assurances contradicted what Grassy Narrows saw in the FMP.
Grassy Narrows has been rejecting the plan, citing a lack of duty to consult and clear-cut logging on their traditional territory.
“The minister’s statement is false, and completely misrepresents Ontario’s plans for another decade of clear-cut logging on our territory against our will, “ clarified Chief Simon Fobister in a media release on November 7, 2013.
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources confirmed to CBC by e-mail on January 31st that clear-cut logging would start on April 1st.
Calls for the Ontario government to retract plans
“When I heard of these [logging] plans, I had a really sick feeling, the industry speaks louder than our people, I thought Kathleen Wynn understood our situation, it shows a complete disregard,” said DaSilva.
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