© 2020 Winnipeg Sun, a division of Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved. Grassy Narrows is in the spotlight again following the release today of the latest study to find the decades-old mercury contamination in the waterways can be cleaned up, and should be cleaned up. Dr. Masazumi Harada, a Japanese scientist who specialized in mercury contamination in Japan. "I feel it's a betrayal of my people," Judy Da Silva, who has suffered from mercury poisoning, told Tuesday's news conference. As outlined in the May report commissioned by Grassy Narrows First Nation, mercury in the water around Grassy Narrows can be cleaned up right now. Mercury in the Wabigoon River has caused brain damage in Grassy Narrows residents. As an instrument of class society, the state serves the interests of the ruling class, which in … “He’s said a lot of good words, but hasn’t delivered action – one of the biggest examples is the poisoning of Grassy Narrows and not cleaning up that mercury. In addition to protesting their government, the community turned to more traditional means as well. Patricia Sellars, a fresh water scientist, released her study a year ago, and in an interview with CBC radio in mid-June, explained that what’s described as “legacy mercury” can be re-mobilized and carried downstream. He was calling on the government to provide support for the Grassy Narrows community, and the clean-up of mercury in the English and Wabigoon River system. Babies were being born with brain damage and extreme physical disabilities and more than 100 people died of the condition. In some lakes mercury levels continue to rise according to another study commissioned by the provincial government and the Grassy Narrows First Nation. In the Grassy Narrows region, native people first noticed the disappearance of the otter and the mink. He said that means the First Nation doesn't know "if those barrels are leaking into the water table and again contaminating the waterway.". This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. Grassy Narrows, near the Manitoba boundary, has dealt with mercury poisoning since the Dryden Chemical Co. dumped 9,000 kilograms of it into the Wabigoon and … english@rcinet.caPosted: Monday, May 30, 2016 17:13 All rights reserved @ Radio Canada International 2018, a nearby pulp mill dumped its effluent into the watershed. This website uses cookies to personalize your content (including ads), and allows us to analyze our traffic. The federal and provincial governments cleaning up the Wabigoon River will show a new era has dawned in our relationship with indigenous peoples. “We made these recommendations in the 1980s and our report was put on the shelf.”. In May and June 2016, the fourth of these River Runs drew a $600,000 pledge from Premier Kathleen Wynne for renewed mercury testing and a new mercury working group. Environment Minister Glen Murray announced in Jun 2017 article, CBC news: Ontario will spend $85 million to clean up industrial mercury contamination that is poisoning the people at Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong First Nations in NW Ont For almost 50 years, the people of Grassy Narrows have fought to make the government aware of their crisis. She said he “, diagnosed at least 60 cases of Minamata disease in Grassy Narrows, another 54 cases of Minamata-with-complications and a further two dozen suspected cases.”, Ontario’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Chang, UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Climate scientists ask Canada to reject LNG project. PSAC president Robyn Benson said access to clean and safe water is a basic human right and added it's "appalling" that in 2016, so many First Nations communities are forced to boil their water or drink from a bottle. He was calling on the government to provide support for the Grassy Narrows community, and the clean-up of mercury in the English and Wabigoon River system. Ontario has pledged $85 million to cleaning up the river system. “Last month Grassy Narrows youth and elders travelled 1,700 kilometers to call on Premier Wynne to clean up the mercury in their river. But she still has not committed to cleaning up the waters upstream of Grassy Narrows. Photo by Steph Wechsler Clean the river, clean it now,” said Rachel Plotkin, Ontario Science Projects Manager, David Suzuki Foundation. If you don't see it please check your junk folder. Grassy Narrow’s fight for clean water began almost immediately after the discovery of mercury in the water. “It’s been over three years since the Chief of Grassy Narrows First Nations called for an investigation into mercury poisoning of the soil and the river. They migrated northward and westward during the late 17th and early 18th centuries in search of animals to supply the fur trade. According to a report by the province last year, one meal of Grassy Narrows fish contains up to 150 times the safe daily mercury limit recommended by the U.S. EPA. The mercury levels were first studied in the 1980s by a government research team. The next issue of The Winnipeg Sun Headline News will soon be in your inbox. Silent Spring introduced the concept of bioaccumulation, the increasing concentration of toxic material from one link in a food chain to the next. Traditionally, Ojibwe hunted large game for subsistence. Eventually the commercial fishery was closed which ended the guiding native people had been employed in, and the fish they depended on as a source of food was toxic. Last Updated: Thursday, June 2, 2016 16:07. “It’s been over three years since the Chief of Grassy Narrows First Nations called for an investigation into mercury poisoning of the soil and the river. Grassy Narrows is in the spotlight again following the release today of the latest study to find the decades-old mercury contamination in the waterways can be cleaned up, and should be cleaned up. We’re going to build a brighter future.” Turtle would eventually lose the MP role to Eric Melillo of the Conservative party. Grassy Narrows, near the Manitoba boundary, has dealt with mercury poisoning since the Dryden Chemical Co. dumped 9,000 kilograms of it into the … "If there is still a source of mercury we're going to remove that in the best way possible, and do it was quickly as we can," said Wynne. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said her government wants to get to the bottom of the allegations. We encountered an issue signing you up. The Supreme Court of Canada says it will hear a legal dispute over whether the Ontario government can force Weyerhaeuser … John Rudd was part of that team and now he is the lead author of this most recent research, commissioned by Grassy Narrows First Nation. In addition, large patrilineal clans divide… Unauthorized distribution, transmission or republication strictly prohibited. Some information in it may no longer be current. Leaders of a northern Ontario First Nation are demanding action after new allegations about mercury dumping upstream from their community. Grassy Narrows demands help cleaning up mercury, tap here to see other videos from our team. They have produced a video for their "Thirsty for Justice" campaign focusing on the situation at Grassy Narrows. Benjamin says that even today people are still suffering the adverse effects of mercury poisoning. “He’s said a lot of good words, but hasn’t delivered action – one of the biggest examples is the poisoning of Grassy Narrows and not cleaning up that mercury. However, members of the Grassy Narrows band have suggested the government has known about the situation for too long without doing anything about it. Generations of Activism: The Grassy Narrows First Nation’s Fight for Clean Water Donate Now In the 1960s, a chemical company used large amounts of mercury in a process that bleached paper. A search on the ministry’s website using the name Grassy Narrows, reveals no links to any mercury problems. Meanwhile, the Public of Service Alliance of Canada announced it is partnering with the Grassy Narrows First Nation to launch a campaign demanding safe drinking water in all aboriginal communities. So have many in Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, also known as Whitedog First Nation, about 130 kilometres away. by ahnationtalk on June 2, 2016 315 Views. He says governments were becoming aware of the dangers of mercury poisoning following the disaster in Japan, that named the condition ‘Minimata Disease’ after the city in the southern Japan where a chemical factory had been dumping mercury into the waterway. Ontario's environment minister and the minister of indigenous relations and reconciliation are scheduled to visit Grassy Narrows on June 27 and are taking scientists with them to try to figure out what's happening there. “Currently there is no evidence to suggest that mercury levels in the river system are such that any remediation, beyond continuing natural recovery is warranted or advisable,” Gary Wheeler responded in an email to CBC News. At a news conference in Winnipeg on Tuesday, Chief Simon Fobister Sr. suggested the new allegations don't stem from the same site as the acknowledged dumping. Water bottles are seen at the local water supply site on the Grassy Narrows First Nation, in northwestern Ontario, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. Tomorrow a delegation from the community is travelling to Toronto, to raise awareness of the contamination issues. Members of the Grassy Narrows First Nation travelled to Toronto for the River Run on June 2, 2016, calling for Premier Kathleen Wynne to clean up mercury in the English-Wabigoon river system. Please try again, 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4. According to a report by the province last year, one meal of Grassy Narrows fish contains up to 150 times the safe daily mercury limit recommended by the U.S. EPA. Cleaning Up Mercury a Must in Grassy Narrows. “Mercury contamination has had a profound impact on the people of Grassy Narrows First Nation and Wabaseemoong (Whitedog) Independent Nations, and has to be properly addressed,” Environment … 'Everyone is suffering' from the mercury poisoning, Bill Fobister, 69, of Grassy Narrows First Nation told CBC News in September 2014, when Japanese mercury experts visited the community.Photo Credit: CBC / Jody Porter, By Carmel Kilkenny | The fur trade shifted this practice toward trapping smaller animals and trading their furs. The report on the high levels of mercury in Grassy Narrows waterways was released on the same day the province’s premier, Kathleen Wynne, issued “a formal apology for the abuses of the past”. March 5th, 2019 Ford government needs to start Grassy Narrows mercury clean-up now: NDP QUEEN’S PARK — During question period on Tuesday, NDP MPP Sol Mamakwa, said that after 200 days in office, the Ford government needs to stop delaying and start cleaning up mercury contamination in Grassy Narrows immediately. The problem is a lack of political will. In late February this year, Judy Da Silva represented Grassy Narrows before the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights pressing the community’s case against Canada for its failure to address the mercury levels, and their right to safe drinking water. Ancestors of the northern Ojibwe are thought to have originally inhabited the north shore of the upper Great Lakes. The Ojibwa First Nation community, 80 kilometres north of Kenora, in northwestern Ontario was severely affected when a nearby pulp mill dumped its effluent into the watershed. Ontario’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has reviewed John Rudd’s report and disagrees with its conclusions. 0 Comments. Grassy Narrows has dealt with mercury poisoning since a paper mill in Dryden, Ont., dumped 9,000 kilograms of the substance into the Wabigoon and English River systems in the 1960s. Today we carry the voices of 35,000 people who echo Grassy Narrows’ cry for justice. In 1957 researchers concluded the toxic disorder of the central nervous system was caused by certain organic mercury compounds transmitted through seafood. Cleaning up mercury a must in Grassy Narrows – The Star. Soil samples that showed hundreds of times the mercury level of a nearby uncontaminated site were taken from an area behind the Dryden paper mill where former mill worker Kas Glowacki said he buried 50 barrels of mercury and salt in 1972. M. ercury flowed into the English-Wabigoon water system between 1962 and 1970. was understood to be the result of mercury poisoning the people. The federal and provincial governments cleaning up the Wabigoon River will show a new era has dawned in our relationship with indigenous peoples. The fur trade economy transformed Ojibwe social organization and resource use. The Ontario government says it is “completely committed” to finding sites that are contaminated with mercury near Grassy Narrows and putting in place a plan to clean up the toxin. Scientists who have monitored mercury … We’re going to build a brighter future.” Turtle would eventually lose the MP role to Eric Melillo of the Conservative party. "If we can find a way to remove mercury from the sediment in the bottom of the lakes or the river, without disturbing the mercury and making the situation worse -- which is what scientists told us previously -- then we will move on that.". Then they noticed the strange way the eagles and vultures were flying overhead. By the 1970’s it was understood something was wrong. June 1, 2016. Chris Young/The Canadian Press The leaders of all three of Ontario’s major political parties pledged Friday to clean up a mercury-contaminated river … By continuing to use our site, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. According to CBC reporter Kelly Crowe, Dr. Masazumi Harada, a Japanese scientist who specialized in mercury contamination in Japan. In the study released today, the researchers suggested there may be ground water mercury still leaching into the river from the original pulp mill source, which would account for the remaining high levels of mercury, despite all the years of so-called “natural recovery”. Home » Newswire » Cleaning up mercury a must in Grassy Narrows – The Star. David Suzuki, Faisal Moola. There was an error, please provide a valid email address. Residents of Grassy Narrows First Nation, about 100 kilometres northeast of Kenora, Ont., have grappled with long-standing mental and physical health issues due to toxic mercury levels in the nearby English-Wabigoon River. She said there's "engagement right now to try to discern exactly what this alleged source (of mercury) is.". Earlier this week, media reports emerged about a former labourer at the mill who says that as part of his job in 1972, he buried more than 50 barrels of mercury and salt in a pit near Grassy Narrows. In the late 1950’s and early 60’s it became evident the disease, which manifested as epileptic-like behavior with violent seizures, a loss of balance and slurred speech, was understood to be the result of mercury poisoning the people. A report authored by five mercury experts and released earlier this year suggested mercury could still be leaking into the river system. OPINION: The government plans to order a pulp and paper company to help clean up the mercury pollution around Grassy Narrows, but may delay justice even longer in the process By John Michael McGrath - Published on Jun 09, 2017 The cleanup of Grassy Narrows may face yet another delay, based on the Liberal government's latest decision. Does this victory signal that the province is willing to take real action to clean up Grassy Narrows? The premier said it is critical to "undo that damage if we can" but said she won't authorize an action that could make the situation worse. Japanese researchers have been to Grassy Narrows five times since 1975, to study the effects on the people. Mercury flowed into the English-Wabigoon water system between 1962 and 1970. Thanks in part to these efforts, the government in Ontario, Canada announced on February 13, 2017 that it is completely committed to identifying mercury contamination near Grassy Narrows and cleaning up the toxins. She said he “diagnosed at least 60 cases of Minamata disease in Grassy Narrows, another 54 cases of Minamata-with-complications and a further two dozen suspected cases.” Canadian authorities have never acknowledged any. Nearly five decades after mercury was dumped in the river upstream from their home, the people of Grassy Narrows First Nation have received a clear … More than 400,000 letters of support from around the world called for justice for Grassy Narrows and contributed to the successful signing of an agreement to build a mercury care home. Grassy Narrows youth were one of ten global cases focused on young human rights defenders leading the charge for change in their communities. Grassy Narrows' Fight for Clean Water Is A Struggle for Environmental Justice ... contains up to 150 times the amount of mercury deemed safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “It has been frustrating,” Rudd said. We apologize, but this video has failed to load. Craig Benjamin, a campaigner with Amnesty International Canada, says “it was a preventable tragedy”. by. TORONTO — Premier Kathleen Wynne insists she’s “deadly serious” about wanting to clean up the mercury contamination that has plagued the Grassy Narrows First Nation for decades, but doesn’t want to make the situation worse. Read more about cookies here. Sign up to receive daily headline news from the Winnipeg SUN, a division of Postmedia Network Inc. A welcome email is on its way. Sadly, it looks like the jury is still out. Grassy Narrows, near the Manitoba boundary, has dealt with mercury poisoning since the Dryden Chemical Co. dumped 9,000 kilograms of it into the Wabigoon and English River systems during the 1960s. Narrows, reveals no links to any mercury problems ahnationtalk on June,. Trapping smaller animals grassy narrows mercury clean up trading their furs up the waters upstream of Grassy Narrows residents First.! 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