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Grassy Narrows

    June 21, 2009

    The Indigenous community of Grassy Narrows in north-western Ontario, Canada, has experienced decades of  suffering and dislocation. This has included, among other violations of their rights, flooding of their traditional territory leading to the loss of wild rice crops, wildlife habitat and heritage sites; relocation of the community; mercury contamination of the river system; and, most recently, large-scale logging throughout much of their homeland.

    There are more than 1,200 registered members of the Asubpeeshoseewagong Netum Anishinaabek (Grassy Narrows First Nation). Like many First Nations’ reserves across Canada, Grassy Narrows faces high unemployment (as high as 80 or 90 per cent), poor and overcrowded housing, and other inadequate and underfunded services and community infrastructure. In stark contrast to the standard of living enjoyed by most Canadians, many of the people of Grassy Narrows live in conditions of extreme poverty and poor health.

    Read the report

      Grassy Narrows: the right to a healthy environment

    "Everything around us was disappearing... The clean water, our way of life, our traditions, even the wild rice picking and blueberry picking were all disappearing. It's all connected to the land." - Judy DaSilva, Grassy Narrows

    "We have struggled for many years to save our way of life in the face of clear-cut logging, which has contaminated our waters and destroyed our lands. We cannot go back to the old way of business where decisions were imposed on our people and our land with devastating consequences for our health and culture.” -- Grassy Narrows trapper Joseph Fobister

    The flooding of their lands. The dumping of mercury into their waters. And the large scale logging of their traditional hunting and trapping territories.

     

    “Reconciliation…requires a more generous and flexible approach that seeks to identify and create common ground. Further, as a general rule, resource extraction should not occur on lands subject to aboriginal claims without… the free, prior and informed consent of the aboriginal peoples concerned.” -- United Nations Special Rapporteur James Anaya at the conclusion of his 2013 official mission to Canada.

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