Friday September 30th, 2022 marks the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Every day, we honour the children who never came home, the survivors, their families, and communities. We will continue to reflect, learn, and uplift Indigenous voices. We recognize that there is no moving forward without understanding our past.
On the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation it is important to remember the reasons why Canada decided to put in place the Residential School system. Residential Schools were designed to sever the connection of Indigenous peoples to their culture and their land so that Canada could have free access to the lands and resources that are the homelands of Indigenous peoples. In many ways, Canada's economy continues to be built on the extraction of resources from Indigenous lands without their consent.
One way that we can contribute to reconciliation is by supporting Indigenous peoples who are fighting to re-assert their control and care for the lands and waters that support them, and support all life. Grassy Narrows is a perfect example of a community that is putting their governance and protection of their lands into action.
Earthroots has supported Grassy Narrows since 2002 when Grassy Narrows youth, women, and land users started their grassroots logging blockade which still stands today. Grassy Narrows succeeded in kicking out the world's largest newsprint company in 2008 and in stopping all industrial logging on their Territory.
Thank you for your ongoing support for the community of Grassy Narrows. This summer saw the successful return of the River Run, a vital event which ensures that Ontario and Canada cannot ignore the community's demands for justice.
Together we showed Grassy Narrows people that we are with them in their fight for mercury justice. Over 2,000 people marched in Toronto in support of the 70 community members who travelled 1,700km from Grassy Narrows to demand that Ontario and Canada:
· Compensate everyone in Grassy Narrows fairly for the mercury crisis
· Respect the Grassy Narrows Indigenous Protected Area (end mining and logging plans in Grassy Narrows territory)
· Support Grassy Narrows in restoring their community and way of life from the damage that mercury has done.
The devastating mercury crisis in Grassy Narrows First Nation has persisted for decades, ever since 9 tonnes of mercury was dumped upstream in the 1960s, with little action from governments to help the people.
To this day, 86% of Grassy Narrows members get no compensation for the serious impacts of the ongoing mercury crisis on their health, culture, and livelihoods. To make matters worse, Ontario is still proposing mining exploration and industrial logging on Grassy Narrows lands against Grassy Narrows’ will.
Grassy people are powerful leaders in the movement for Indigenous sovereignty and environmental justice. They have shown us that we can fight for justice against all odds and make real gains.
Together we have kicked the world’s largest newsprint company off of Grassy Narrows lands, forced the government to commit to clean up the English and Wabigoon Rivers, comprehensively reform the Mercury Disability Board, and build a Mercury Care Home and Treatment Centre in Grassy Narrows.
We won’t stop until Grassy Narrows has the good life that they enjoyed before mercury.
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