Wednesday, June 27, 2007

First Nations activists erect 9-meter teepee on lawn of Ontario legislature

27 June 2007

TORONTO: CPT accompanies activists protesting Ontario government granting licenses to corporations destroying Native lands and livelihoods

by David Milne

With speed and precision, activists from the Rainforest Action Network, accompanied by members of Christian Peacemaker Teams and Forest Ethics, erected a nine-metre tall tepee bearing the words "Native Rights Now," on Monday, 25 June 2007, on the lawn in front of the Ontario legislature at Queens Park in Toronto.

Chief Simon Fobister of the Grassy Narrows First Nation north of Kenora, Ontario explained to print and television reporters that Weyerhaeuser and Abitibi, two large logging companies, have clearcut the forest around the community, destroying the Nation's traditional way of life.

Leah Fontaine, a young person from Grassy Narrows, said, "There's eight hundred people on the reserve and only fifty have jobs." She noted that the people on the reserve have not received the economic benefits of logging.

John Cutfeet, a spokesperson from the Kitchenumaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, north and east of Grassy Narrows, addressed reporters about the threat of mining to his remote community's way of life. He and Chief Fobister asked to meet with Premier McGuinty, whose government has granted licences to the logging and mining companies over the repeated objections of First Nations' councils. Premier McGuinty had no time to meet with them, though he was in Queens Park.

The action lasted until dusk, when the activists took down the tepee and left the site.

For photos of the action go to: <>


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