Respect Native Rights, Protect Ancient Forests Grassy Narrows blockaders speak. Tonight (Thursday, November 2), 7 pm. Pwyc ($5-$10 sugg). Steelworkers Hall, 25 Cecil. 416-597-1904.
WHO? Judy Da Silva, Anishnabe enviro-activist
WHAT? An evening designed to raise awareness of the blockade originally undertaken in 2002 by First Nations protesting Abitibi's logging of customary lands.
WHY NOW? "The original blockade has had a minor impact, but the logging is still going on. There's an illusion that it has stopped, but it hasn't. Instead, Abitibi has moved it to the north end of our lands so that grassroots people can't get there. Also, the police presence increased last July and some of our people were hurt. It's all kept so quiet."
WHY HERE? "We're travelling to six cities in southern Ontario because this is where most of the earth's consumption and devastation takes place. We are asking people to look at how they use the earth."
WHAT ARE YOU HOPING GOVERNMENT WILL DO? "We want the provincial government to revoke the logging licences and the federal government to honour our treaties. But the province says it's a federal matter and the federal government says it's a provincial matter. It's like a hot potato."
WHAT SUSTAINS YOU THROUGH THE STRUGGLE? "We have a sacred fire at the original blockade site. When we feel weak, the women light the sacred fire, we talk and we share."
DO YOU HAVE ANY HEROES? "My grandmother. She taught us to value the earth."