Native Rights Rally in Queen's Park, Canada
On Friday, September 21, 2007 more than 200 human rights and environmental advocates and First Nation leaders demonstrated at Queen’s Park to demand that the Ontario provincial government take immediate, concrete action to resolve longstanding Native land rights disputes stemming from unrestrained logging and mining in the boreal forest when the legislature resumes after the October 10 election.

The public demonstration was organized by Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and Christian Peacemaker Teams. Shortly after noon, participants pointed a 75-meter, arrow-shaped banner reading “Native Land Rights Now” at the legislature while First Nation leaders spoke and a helicopter captured the scene overhead.

Native groups in attendance – which included the Grassy Narrows, Ardoch Algonquin and Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nations, and the Nishnawbe Aski Nation representing 49 First Nations in northern Ontario – are demanding a moratorium on industrial activities being carried out on their traditional territories without their free, prior and informed consent.

Over the objections of Grassy Narrows and other First Nations communities, the province continues to issue permits for logging, mining and other large-scale industrial projects on their lands. First Nation representatives at the event described how such projects degrade the land, disrupt traditional cultural practices, and reverse economic rights guaranteed to them under the Canadian Constitution (see statements below).

The province recently appointed former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci to negotiate with Grassy Narrows but it has not agreed to enforce the community’s moratorium on clear-cutting.

RAN is campaigning to get U.S. lumber giant Weyerhaeuser to stop buying wood products obtained by clear-cutting forests on the traditional territory of Grassy Narrows First Nation.
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