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June 12, 2011

Grassy Narrows Clan Mothers vs MNR

Grassy Narrows grassroots women are blocking passage for Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) enforcement officers interfering with back-road repair work by the northwestern Ontario First Nations community.  

The community is repairing washouts and beaver damage to nearby back-roads to facilitate their ongoing use and enjoyment of their traditional territory.

Call the MNR Kenora office to express your support: (807) 468-2501

Some points to make:
1.  Stop harassing construction crews repairing the road to Ball Lake Lodge.
2.  Thousands of people are supporting Grassy Narrows.  This issue will not go away.
3.  Grassy Narrows has the right to determine what happens on their territory.
4.  We also support Grassy Narrows' call to end clearcut logging, and for justice on issues of mercury pollution and other contaminants. 

"We the Anishinabek have never given up jurisdiction on our natural territories," said 
Judy Da Silva, a Grassy Narrows mother, blockader, and traditional healer.  "We agreed to share the lands with the newcomers, but we will never give up our inherent right to use and protect the land, water and the forests."

The roads require repairs because the MNR has not conducted maintenance on the back road network since 2002 when grassroots women and youth put their bodies on the line to block logging machinery from further destroying the forests their community depends on. Previously the back roads had been maintained by local contractors through Provincial subsidies provided to the logging industry.

The blockade is the longest running blockade in Canadian history.  

The back roads are used by Grassy Narrows members to access hunting, trapping, wild rice picking and berry picking areas, and for access to the Ball Lake fishing lodge.  

"The MNR attempt to stop maintenance of the roads is an attack on our community's self sufficiency," said Roberta Keesick, a Grassy Narrows grandmother, trapper, and blockader.  “It is another attempt by the Province to assert unilateral control over the Territory in violation of our inherent and treaty rights."

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