Grassy Narrows Marches for Clean Water and Justice
Toronto 8/6/12 – Grassy Narrows people, accompanied by hundreds of supporters, deployed 15,000 square feet of blue fabric in the streets of Toronto to create a wild river flowing to Queen’s Park, where they will demand long overdue justice for their people and protection for the waters and forests on which they depend. Fifty years after Ontario began allowing 10 tonnes of toxic mercury to be dumped into Grassy Narrows’ river, the McGuinty Government still refuses to acknowledge even one case of methyl mercury poisoning, known as Minamata Disease. A newly translated report by renowned Japanese mercury expert Dr. Harada, released on Monday, found that “[i]t is an undoubtable fact that Minamata disease occurred in [Grassy Narrows and Whitedog], based on our long-term investigation result.”
“Our people are still suffering from this poison in the water, but most receive no support from the government,” said Grassy Narrows Chief Simon Fobister, “all people diagnosed by the Japanese experts must be fully compensated, and the government must respect our decisions on our territory so that we can recover from the devastating impacts of mercury pollution on our health, our culture, and our livelihood.”
“The government and industry take away our forests and give us back disease and sickness and death,” said Judy Da Silva, a Grassy Narrows mother. “If McGuinty stood in our shoes he would understand why we say ‘no’ to the pollution and industrial logging of our homeland.”
Grassy Narrows, and their supporters, are demanding from government:
RESPONSIBILITY: Acknowledge mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows, apologize, and accept responsibility to fix what was broken.
SAFETY: Fund a permanent Grassy Narrows run environmental health monitoring center. Strengthen the Health Canada mercury safety guideline to protect all people.
COMPENSATION: Compensate all people diagnosed by the Japanese doctors, and retroactively index the compensation to inflation.
RESTORATION: Clean and restore the English-Wabigoon river system. Stop the mills from polluting the water and air.
JUSTICE: Restore Grassy Narrows control over Grassy Narrows Territory. End destructive industrial logging on Grassy Narrows Territory.
For more information go to: FreeGrassy.org