06.03.2012 – A large and diverse group of over a hundred people gathered outside the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s (PDAC) Convention today.
Leading the protests was a group of community representatives from Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation. KI Councilors are rallying with hundreds of supporters while members of the remote Indigenous Nation mobilize on the ground to prevent mining exploration company Gods Lake Resources (GLR) from desecrating sacred burials on KI Homeland.
“We are mobilized to go to Sherman Lake to protect our land. I cannot allow our graves to be desecrated by a company that is hiring private security to trespass on our Homeland by force. That is no way to do business,” said Chief Morris.
On Sunday the Ontario government unilaterally withdrew 23,181 sq km of land in KI Homeland from mining exploration in response to KI’s longstanding decision to place a full moratorium on industry in KI’s Indigenous Homeland. However, the claims and leases at the heart of KI’s conflict with GLR are unaffected by ON’s move and the dispute over protection of burial sites and sacred landscape remains unresolved.
The MNDM has indicated that GLR intends to access the site this month, and refuses to answer whether GLR is on the land today. KI Chief Morris said in a Feb. 16 youtube video that his community was mobilizing and he feared that the situation would escalate. In a March 1 news release GLR indicated that they are looking to hire private security for their drill program – a potentially explosive move. A KI team is traveling to the Sherman Lake site today to conduct reconnaissance.
Kanawayandan D’aaki – Protecting Our Land
Below is a short video I made recently in collaboration with KI’s Lands and Environment Unit:
The PDAC protest also featured fashionistas from the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN) who gathered to denounce and ridicule the Canadian mining sector outside of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention today. Walking down an impromptu catwalk in front of the Metro Toronto Convention Center, the protestors showcased “mining company must-haves” like a PR filter for everyday green-washing, cute pandas for controversial pipelines, and a 77 million dollar pacifier for Pacific Rim. The outfits satirized the superficial public relations stunts of the mining industry at home and abroad, while bringing attention to the community rights and basic human rights that are violated by these same companies.
This week, PDAC has been the target for many concerned groups including the Congolese-Canadians, the Ngapuhi Indigenous community from New Zealand, as well as KI. MISN supports communities directly impacted by Canada’s mining industry. “It’s time for Canadian legislation with teeth to hold Canadian corporations accountable locally and abroad and bring an end to weak voluntary regulation,” said Flynn, a member of Mining Injustice Solidarity Network.
Speeches from the protest (Unedited) Part 1/2
Speakers: Cecelia Begg – KI Councilor; Syed Hussan – Toronto KI Solidarity Group; Randy Nanokeesic – KI Counsilor; Syd Ryan – Ontario Federation of Labour;
Speeches from the protest (Unedited) Part 2/2
Speakers: Maryam Adrangi – Council of Canadians; Ramsey Hart – MiningWatch Canada; Steven Chapman – KI Lands & Environment Unit; Syed Hussan – Toronto KI Solidarity Group; Bob Lovelace – retired co-Chief of the Ardoch Algonquin; Richard Anderson – KI Lands & Environment Unit
Please contact me for high res images, audio, and video at:
For more information on KI, please contact:
David Sone: 647-386-1481
For more information on MISN, please contact:
Susana Caxaj: 416-839-8467
Photos from today:
This is a slideshow I made in 2004 when I was working with GlobalAware Independent Media.
Af-flu-ence (af’looens) noun – abundance of money, and other material goods; wealth: to live in affluence.
Its deadly and mind-numbing effects are devastating communities world wide.
It is the driving force behind many of today’s environmental problems.
It places a heavy burden on our physical and mental health.
And is a direct cause of suffering for millions around the world.
The gap between the world’s rich and poor has never been wider.
Yet it is neither chance nor bad luck that keeps people trapped in bitter, unrelenting affluence.
There are human factors, like a colonial history that suffocates any chance of healing, an unjust global trade system, and inadequate awareness of sustainability.
The consequences of Affluence have long been kept in the dark.
Consume less. Be sustainable. Challenge desire.
High in the mountains of the Philippine island of Mindoro, members of the Alangan tribe live in the village of Kisluyan, on the same land their ancestors have lived on for generations.
Kisluyan is one of 26 indigenous villages that face the threat of displacement by the Mindoro Nickel Project, a proposed open pit nickel mine on their ancestral land.
The Alangan are one of eight indigenous tribes in Mindoro, known collectively as the Mangyan. The Mangyan once occupied the whole island. As more and more settlers began moving to the island, the Mangyan were gradually pushed off the more fertile areas higher and higher into the mountains. Now, with the proposed mine threatening to push them off their mountain, they are left with nowhere to go.
For the Alangan, their land is the very foundation of their identity. Generation after generation, the Mangyan have been taught to care for the land; “we take care of the land, and the land will take care of us.” Many of them believe that disaster will befall them if their sacred lands are desecrated by the proposed nickel mine.
- Dunham, Quebec, Canada – August 7-23, 2010 -
Community members of Dunham, Quebec, joined forces with supporters from across Quebec, Canada, and North America, to hold a Climate Action Camp to strengthen the campaign against the Trailbreaker Project. The the proposed pumping station in Dunham is part of Enbridge’s Trailbreaker Pipeline Project which is intended to carry oil from the Alberta Tar Sands to the United States’ Eastern Seaboard.
According to community members, the proposed pumping station threatens the health, water, environment, and lands of the people of Dunham and the region. The company, and government backers, behind this proposed pumping station are ignoring community wishes and concerns, including demands for an independent environmental assessment. The community has never consented to the project.
Spanish version of Someone Else’s Treasure – Guatemala multimedia piece:
On Saturday, June 5, 2010, human rights and community organizations mobilized to join an emergency Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) Day of Action called by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC).
In Toronto, protesters condemned the fatal attacks by Israel on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip.
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid
Palestine House Community Centre
Canadian Arab Federation
Toronto Coalition to Stop the War
Canadian Peace Alliance
On Tuesday April 20, blurry eyed Torontonians were greeted by a fabled character on their early morning commute. Starting at Yonge and Sheppard station three fearless actors performed skits on subway cars down the Yonge line to Union Station introducing the public to the Robin Hood Tax. (read on at robinhoodtax.ca)
Below is a video of this action that I made for Oxfam.
Find out more about the Robin Hood tax at robinhoodtax.ca
See more of my photos of this event on Oxfam Canada’s Flikr Page
April 7, 2010, Toronto – On World Health Day, members of Grassy Narrows First Nation lead a march of over 250 people to the seat of the Provincial Government at Queen’s Park. The Grassy Narrows People have travelled 1,800 km to deliver their demands for restitution for mercury poisoning whose health effects in the community are worse now than when Ontario first banned fishing in their river 40 years ago, according to a newly translated study by Japanese mercury expert Dr. Harada. The Provincial government has compounded the impacts of mercury on the community’s health, culture, and economy by permitting decades of unwanted clear-cut logging, and mining activity on their territory.
More info: freegrassy.org
April 1st, 2010, Rainforest Action Network Toronto naming Royal Bank of Canada the Fossil Fool of the Year 2010, for being the leading financier of the Tar Sands oil projects.
Music: Kevin MacLeod
Someone Else’s Treasure is an ongoing multimedia project which brings to light some of the experiences of indigenous communities around the world that have been impacted by the global mining industry – including communities in the Philippines, Tanzania, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Chile, Canada, and Guatemala.
This multimedia piece focuses on communities in San Marcos, Guatemala, living next to the Canadian-owned Marlin Mine. The first two songs are by Grupo Kotzic, who are from San Marcos, singing about the peoples’ resistance to the mine. The third song is a live recording from inside the Church of San Miguel Ixtahuacan, San Marcos, where community members were singing a song they wrote about their experiences with the mine.
In an effort to better understand the true cost of an industry that shapes the world around all of us, the focus of Someone Else’s Treasure is on the externalized – the men, women, and children, that have been left out of the equations and are therefore forced to pay the price for someone else’s treasure.
Now available in Spanish: La Riqueza de Otros – Guatemala
Read the photo essay for more information:
The sights and sounds from the streets of Copenhagen during the COP15 Climate Conference. As broad frustration grew with the direction of the COP15 negotiations, international networks of people’s movements, civil society groups, indigenous peoples organizations and grassroots activists united to expose the COP process as undemocratic, unjust, and inadequate to deal with the scale of the problem.
More from the streets of Copenhagen here
Tar Sands protest outside Canadian Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark, during the COP15 Climate Conference.
The protest was led by the Indigenous Environmental Network.
Speakers: Mother & daughter Susan and Eriel Deranger from the Athabasca Chipewan First Nation, just downriver from the Tar Sands oil projects in Alberta, Canada.
Indigenous leaders from Chile, Papua New Guinea, and Australia, traveled great distances to speak at the annual shareholders’ meeting of Barrick Gold — the world’s largest gold mining corporation — and voice their complaints about Barrick’s operations on their ancestral lands.
Complaints include the killing, rape, and arbitrary detention of villagers in Papua New Guinea, the destruction of spiritual sites in Australia, and the theft of indigenous lands in Chile.
Affected communities are calling on all Canadians to reject the harms done by Canadian mining companies and become active in pressuring Canadian companies to respect international human rights and environmental standards.
Sergio Campusano is the President of the Diaguita Huascoaltinos Indigenous and Agricultural Community. Since he assumed the role of president, Sergio has been fighting against the greed of the mining corporations and the local agriculture companies in order to mantain the rights of his people.
Native to the rocky highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG), Jethro Tulin is a popular organiser and founder of the Akali Tange Association (ATA), a human rights organization documenting abuses at the Porgera mine, owned by Torontos Barrick Gold.
Neville “Chappy” Williams, Wiradjuri elder and spokesperson for Mooka and Kalara United Families, the traditional owners of the Lake Cowal area in NSW Australia.
I’ve been struggling to try and figure out how to get some of my multimedia slideshows online. Here’s one test using YouTube. This was just a quick test slideshow that I slapped together this morning to try and test this out. If it all comes out alright then hopefully I’ll be able to post more later.