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.
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
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