FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: 647 388-1053
May 21, 2008
First Nation Communities Put Queen's Park on Notice Before National Day of Action
Four days of peaceful ceremonies to be held on Legislative grounds
Kitchenumaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), Ardoch Algonquin, and Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek (Grassy Narrows) First Nations today released a letter directed to the Honourable Steve Peters, Speaker of the House in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario notifying him that the communities and their supporters will conduct traditional ceremonies on the front lawn of the Legislature from May 26 to May 29. May 29 has been called as a National Aboriginal Day of Action for communities across Canada.
In a public invitation to other First Nations and supporters the communities explain that in conducting these ceremonies they are “upholding our duty to protect the land, forest, water, and air and promoting respect for our Indigenous rights to say no to economic exploitation and environmental destruction.”
The letter additionally describes the May ceremonies as a way to “honour our brothers and sisters who are currently in Ontario’s jails for peacefully acting to protect mother earth, especially Robert Lovelace and the KI 6 [Donny Morris, Sam McKay, Jack McKay, Cecilia Begg, Darryl Sainnawap, Bruce Sakakeep].”
In the letter the communities state “[w]e trust that you will respect our rights and not interfere with our peaceful, ceremonial presence.” Hundreds of First Nations and their supporters are expected to camp on the front lawn of the Legislature for the four days of traditional ceremonies including sunrise ceremonies, traditional drumming and singing, and the lighting of a sacred fire by Elders. The speaker of the house directs Queen’s Park Security, the force immediately responsible for security on the Legislative grounds.
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples formally recognizes the right to give or withhold consent for industrial projects on traditional lands. The three communities have declared moratoria on industrial activity occurring without their consent, but so far the Province has refused to respect them and continues to issue industrial permits for projects that the communities assert are damaging to the health, culture, and future of their people.
To speak to First Nations representatives please call:
Jack Lapointe, Ardoch Algonquin First Nation: 613-273-3530
Joseph Fobister, Grassy Narrows: 807-925-2071, 807-925-2745
Susan Nanokeesic, Kithenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug: 807-537-2263
The Honourable Steve Peters
Speaker of the House
Rm 180, Main Legislative Building, Queens Park
The Honourable Steve Peters,
We are writing to notify you that our communities of Kitchenumaykoosib Inninuwug, Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek (Grassy Narrows), and our supporters, will be using the front lawn of the Legislature for traditional ceremonies starting on May 26th and ending on May 29th, 2008. We are being welcomed to this land by Elder Gary Sault of the Mississauga Nation and we have a permit from Chief Laforme. In conducting these ceremonies we are honouring our duty to protect our mother earth, and honouring our brothers and sisters who are currently in Ontario’s jails for peacefully acting to protect mother earth, especially Robert Lovelace and the KI 6.
Ceremonies will run for 24 hours each day.
Our ceremonial presence will include:
- four sunrise ceremonies, each with duration of 24 hours;
- drumming, singing;
- the lighting of a sacred fire by Elders;
- erecting tents, teepees, and tarps for shelter;
- serving of cooked meals; and
- speakers, music, workshops, art, banners, and various activities.
We expect from you the following commitments for the events of May 26th – May 29th that:
- security services will not interfere with our ceremonial presence or activities;
- access to electric power outlets will be provided by Queen’s Park;
- access to Queen’s Park washroom facilities will be ensured;
- space for portable toilets will be ensured; and
- access to potable water taps will be ensured.
We intend to establish and enforce the following ground rules for the duration of our stay:
- all of our activities will be peaceful;
- we will not allow any weapons, alcohol, or illegal drugs;
- we will do no damage to property; and
- we will clean up all garbage when we leave.
We trust that you will respect our rights and not interfere with our peaceful, ceremonial presence. We are willing to meet with you to discuss the agenda outlined above in order to help facilitate a safe and comfortable stay for everyone involved. Please communicate with us through our designated liason.
Ardoch Algonquin First Nation
Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows)