Kenora ON — Grassy Narrows First Nation, Asubpeeschoseewagong —One month before Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources’ (MNR) 10 year clearcut plan for the Whiskey Jack Forest is set to come into effect, a new Grassy Narrows Youth Group has released a statement condemning the Forestry Management Plan (FMP) and promising that there will be organized resistance should logging operations commence.
“The new clearcutting plan threatens our home, including lands that our decade long blockade has protected. Our community’s leadership, both grassroots and Band Council, have firmly rejected the new cut plan and contested the Government’s right to make decisions regarding our Territory,” says the Youth Group’s statement.
In a quote included in the statement, a member of the group, Taina Da Silva says, “If the logging begins in our territory, I am certain there will already be planned strategies on our part to bring it to a complete halt.”
The new logging plan is but the latest attack on Grassy Narrows Territory and People. “Our People have been dealing with the impacts of logging for decades. Our rivers have been poisoned and many traplines have been destroyed. Now, still dealing with mercury poisoning (from the Dryden Paper Mill’s industrial dumping in the 60s), and facing new threats from mining expansion in Asubpeeschoseewagong Territory, the Government is coming back for our trees,” says the statement.
Making reference to previous and ongoing efforts in Grassy Narrows to combat clearcut logging in their Territory, Edmond Jack, another member of the group says, “Our mothers fought so we could have this land, so we will continue to fight for it.”
The Youth Group’s Statement says, “Current youth organizing in Grassy Narrows is part of a long history of grassroots resistance in the community. We see protecting the land and cultural resurgence as a single inseparable process.”
Jack explains, “Not only does the plan threaten my family trapline, but it also threatens the traditional knowledge of future generations who cannot yet speak for themselves.”
Da Silva says, “It’s important to stop the new logging plan because our traditional way of life depends on the health of the environment.”
The statement concludes with a plea to “supporters” and “allies”.
“The most important thing supporters can do is to be ready, and commit to both physical and political support should the Province begin logging operations,” says Da Silva.