A MESSAGE FROM CHIEF WILLIAM FOBISTER

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COMMUNITY BACKGROUND

Asubpeeschoseewagong - the Ojibway name for Grassy Narrows is situated 80 kilometers north of Kenora, Ontario. The band membership is approximately 1,000 with an on reserve population of approximately 700. The community’s TRADITIONAL LAND USE AREA spans 2,500 square miles outside the reserve’s 14 square miles.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The Anishnabek of Asubpeeschoseewagong have been through many traumas including relocation, mercury contamination, flooding of our sacred grounds, residential schools, clear-cutting of trees which have led to many social, health and economic problems as well as the devastation of the Ojibway culture.

BACKGROUND ON ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVITIES

Recently community members have started to take a stand against clear-cutting and other environmental issues such as the Silver Lake site, nuclear and mining. These activities started more than a couple years ago by band members attending various information conferences, workshops and speaking engagements in Montana(1997), Ottawa(1997), Saskatchewan(1998) and Thunder Bay(1996). As well, Asubpeeschoseewagong held an Environmental Gathering in April 1998.

EFFECTS ON CLEAR CUTTING ON OUR LAND & PEOPLE

We are a community increasingly surrounded by huge clear-cut areas of former forest. This is taking place within the GRASSY NARROWS TRADITIONAL LAND USE AREA. The soon to be approved plan for the next 5 years calls for even more of this type of resource extraction to take place within our territory. This is comparable in every way to the massive resource exploitation, cultural genocide and oppression which took place in the Amazon Basin during the 1980s.

The cutting has been happening in our area since 1950s and this activity has accelerated from the 1990s in a more destructive way.

EFFECTS OF CLEAR-CUTTING ON KENORA

From the 1980s the modernization of the mill involved the use of machinery versus people and therefore half the jobs were lost. The current movement of the mill continues towards the use of machinery and not human labor. The environment and the life in the land does not appear to be the priority of the Mill but to make a quick profit. This has been the legacy of any multi-national corporation.

Clear- cutting infringes not only economically on the people in Kenora but also on their ability to enjoy the pleasures of the forest such as blueberry picking, hunting, fishing, hiking and camping.

WHY ARE WE AGAINST CLEAR-CUTTING?

We, as Aboriginal People have a legitimate claim to use our Traditional Land Use Area for the continuation of our land based culture. We are merely trying to save the last few patches of the old growth forest . These last few patches hold small pieces of our history, our culture and our medicines which can never be replaced or replicated.

As First Nations our Aboriginal Rights are protected under the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and were confirmed and further protected by Treaty #3 which was ratified by our Forefathers.

As First Nations our Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty Rights are protected under s.25 and recognized and affirmed under s.35 the Constitution Act of 1982.

The principles laid forth by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Delgammukw decision apply to our traditional lands and territories and waterways


PLEASE SIGN OUR PETITION  TO STOP THE WHISKY JACK FOREST PLAN                                            

MORE.....

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