Aboriginal Justice Delegation

CPT announces Aboriginal Justice Delegation to Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation (Grassy Narrows, Ontario), 14-23 August and 9-18 October 2009.

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) seeks participants for delegations to the First Nations community of Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows), located in the Treaty 3 territory, with visits to other nearby First Nations communities and the northwestern Ontario town of Kenora.

In 1999, the Ontario government granted a twenty-year license to Abitibi Consolidated allowing them to clear-cut Asubpeeschoseewagong traditional lands.  Grassy Narrows community members started blockading Abitibi logging contractors in November 2002 with CPT accompaniment through that winter.  The blockade met with partial success; nevertheless, nearly 50% of Asubpeeschoseewagong territory has been clear-cut, destroying traditional hunting, trapping, food, and medicine gathering activities.

In May of 2008, Grassy Narrows First Nation signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ontario government to negotiate over several years a long-term agreement for the protection, management, and use of the forest.  On 3 June 2008, the recently merged company Abitibi-Bowater announced that it will withdraw from logging the territory in question.  No long-term agreement has yet been signed with the government; the threat of corporate clear-cut logging continues, and First Nations members are criminalized for activities on their traditional territory

Kenora (pop. 16,000) is an important regional centre for thirteen Anishinaabe communities who are members of the Grand Council Treaty 3.  Situated on the rocky shores of Lake of the Woods, Kenora's economy is sustained by summer tourism and resource extraction.  There is a strong sense of division between non-aboriginal and aboriginal residents and visitors, with aboriginal residents and visitors frequently experiencing racially-based mistreatment.

The delegation will spend time on traditional Asubpeeschoseewagong territory, document the effects of clear-cutting, and learn about Anishinaabe struggles for justice.  In Kenora, the delegation will meet with aboriginal and non-aboriginal community leaders who are working to improve relations between non-aboriginal and aboriginal residents.  Delegation members will develop an analysis of colonialism, participate in undoing racism training, and plan a public witness/direct action focused on Aboriginal sovereignty issues.

CPT is a faith-based group that seeks participants who are interested in human rights work, committed to nonviolence and to undoing racism, and willing to participate in team worship and reflection.  Delegates should have plans to share about the trip upon return to their home communities and congregations.  All on-ground travel, two to three meals a day, accommodations, and all honorariums and delegation fees are covered.  Participants should be prepared for simple housing or camping under rustic conditions, and for periods outside in unpredictable weather.

FUNDRAISING EXPECTATION: $500 Canadian/ $425 U.S.  Delegates make and pay for their own travel arrangements to Winnipeg, Manitoba or to Kenora, Ontario.

Funding support: CPT has limited funds available to assist applications of those who otherwise could not participate.  CPT is committed to undoing racism and will give preference for funding support to applicants from communities disadvantaged by racism.

For more information or to apply, contact CPT, PO Box 6508, Chicago, IL 60680; phone 773-277-0253; fax 773-277-0291; e-mail delegations@cpt.org, or see CPT's website at: http://www.cpt.org (click on "Participate/Join a Delegation").

Location

Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation Grassy Narrows, ON
Canada
50° 10' 0.2712" N, 93° 58' 7.5216" W
This community event is not affiliated with Faith Connections, but we believe it to be of specific interest to young adults aged 18-39 and with a faith-based or social justice theme. However, we can be mistaken — if you're not sure this event will meet your expectations, please check with the event organizers.