The Asubpeeschoseewagong Anishinabek (Grassy Narrows First Nation) has declared its territory to be an Indigenous Sovereignty and Protected Area. The new “Grassy Narrows First Nation Land Declaration” bans all industrial logging in Grassy Narrows’ Territory and asserts that Grassy Narrows will make their own land use decisions.
This is an extraordinary moment in the struggle for Indigenous rights and self determination. Grassy Narrows First Nation calls on the governments of Ontario and Canada to recognize and respect the declaration, and to support the First Nation in caring for their territory and rebuilding their health, way of life, and livelihood, which have been severely impacted by mercury pollution and industrial logging.
The Declaration states that for “countless generations we have been a vital and self-sufficient nation. We, as a people, remain resilient and determined to reclaim our health and way of life. We seek control over our territory to heal and recover what we have lost of our health, culture, livelihood, and environment (…) We will heal our forests and our waterways. We will enjoy the Anishinabe way of life again.”
The Ontario government has indicated that next year it will begin planning for another decade of industrial logging in Grassy Narrows Territory from 2022-2032.
Clearcut logging has been proven to cause an increase in mercury levels in nearby lakes. The people of Grassy Narrows have suffered from mercury poisoning for decades after a chemical factory dumped mercury waste in their waterways in the 1960s and 70s. Clearcutting on their territory will exacerbate this problem.
The people of Grassy Narrows are calling on all nations to stand with them as they assert and enforce their sovereignty and authority on their Anishinabe Territory.
Send a message to federal and provincial ministers telling them to acknowledge and respect the Grassy Narrows Declaration.