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In Downtown Toronto, Ontario First Nations lead March in Face of Rising Mining Projects on their Treaty 9 Land
By Fred Alvarado Fred is a community journalist with FOCUS MEDIA ARTS CENTRE
Alongside hundreds of community members and supporters, five First Nations from Northern Ontario marched from Grange Park to Queen’s Park on September 27th calling on Premier Ford to end the rise in mining activity on their traditional territories. They are particularly concerned about the Ring of Fire, a mineral-rich area in Treaty 9 territory that has seen significant proposed mining and infrastructure projects.
Earlier this year, these five First Nations from Norther Ontario formed the Land Defence Alliance:
1. Grassy Narrows,
2. Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug,
3. Muskrat Dam,
4. Neskantaga and
According to Grassy Narrows Chief Rudy Turtle, there are about 5,000 mining claims in their traditional territory alone. First Nations Land Defence Alliance requested a meeting with Ford on September 26th and were rejected. The alliance says chiefs invited Ford to meet with them last week in front of the Legislature, to sign a declaration committing to end mining activity on their lands without their free, prior and informed consent.
Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development and Indigenous Affairs, wrote them Friday September 22nd, agreeing to meet with them.
But Alliance leaders turned down the offer to meet with Rickford, saying they "took it as an insult" and wanted to meet with Ford.
The Alliance leaders set up a table outside the Legislature and were prepared to meet with Ford so he could address their concerns, but he didn't show up.
Nearly 6,000 people marched to stand in solidarity with the Land Alliance to protect their lands and waters.
FOCUS Media Arts Centre (FOCUS) is a not-for-profit organization that was established in 1990 to counter negative media stereotypes of low income communities and provide relevant information to residents living in the Regent Park area and surrounding communities.
We seek to empower marginalized individuals and under represented communities to have a voice, through the use of professional training, mentorships and participatory based media practices that enable the sharing of stories, experiences and perspectives on relevant matters and issues. In brief our mandate is to empower marginalized individuals and under-serviced communities to have a voice and tell their own stories.