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Grassy Narrows: justice delayed is justice denied

John Bell

June 24, 2012

Early in June, several bus loads of people from the Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation (also known as Grassy Narrows) traveled to Toronto to confront the provincial government with their concerns.

The Grassy Narrows are fighting for their treaty rights to control and protect their land in Northern Ontario.

In the past, logging industry contaminated their waters, and the fish that are central to their diet, with massive amounts of mercury. Even now economic constraints force many to rely on a food source they know is harmful.

They highlighted the issue on June 7 by hosting a fish fry, featuring mercury-tainted fish, on the lawn of the Ontario Legislature. Most invitees like Premier Dalton McGuinty were no-shows.

“Every day mothers in Grassy Narrows must choose between hunger and feeding their families our traditional fish diet,” said Judy Da Silva, Grassy Narrows mother and activist told those assembled.

Despite their treaty, various Ontario governments have allowed over 50 per cent of the Asubpeeschoseewagong land to be logged, without consulting or compensating the people.

Two days later, several hundred allies joined the Grassy Narrows people for a rally and march to Queen’s Park, called River Run to highlight their right to stewardship of their land and water.

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