On December 3rd 2002, members of the Grassy Narrows First Nation blockaded the road logging trucks used to haul logs out of the area. Ten years later, this action proved to be an effective end to logging, resulting in cleaner water and a healthier forest for the indigenous community that lives there.
The people were suffering from relocation and mercury contamination in the English-Wabigon River System due to toxic metal being released from a pulp and paper mill located in far-upstream Dryden, Ontario. By stopping the clear-cutting within Grassy Narrow’s forests, the peoples’ voices were heard, and led to the first real step towards direct action that has generated awareness within the Canadian government.
In February of 2008, U.S. paper producer Boise-Cascade, one of the world’s largest newsprint companies, surrendered its license to log Grassy Narrow’s territory due to the blockaders’ perseverance. Even will all their success, the indigenous citizens of Grassy Narrows have still not gained all their rights as a community back, but their determined stance against corporate domination shows what really is worth fighting for, and that it will not just fade away.
Willow, Anna, “Ontario First Nation Wins Cleaner Forest after 10 Years of Logging Blockade,” Yes Magazine!, December 3, 2012. http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/ontario-first-nation-wins-cleaner-forest-after-decade-long-logging-blockade
Student Researcher: Katelyn Michelson, San Francisco State University
Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows, San Francisco State University