rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

G8/G20 Communique: Grassy Narrows Clan Mothers block MNR enforcement team

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca in its summer fundraiser today for as little as $1 per month!

Grassy Narrows Clan Mothers block MNR enforcement team


Slant Lake, Asubpeeschoseewagong - The site of Grassy Narrows' high profile logging blockade saw action again today as grassroots women blocked passage for Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR ) enforcement officers interfering with back-road repair work by the northwestern Ontario First Nations community. The community was repairing washouts and beaver damage to nearby back-roads to facilitate their ongoing use and enjoyment of their tradtional territory.

The MNR has visited the repair work three times and have threatened to stop the work. This time the community has resolved not to allow that and blocked MNR access at Slant Lake, allowing repairs to proceed. This action has now been sustained for over 6 weeks by grassroots people from Grassy Narrows. "We the Anishinabek have never given up jurisdiction on our natural territories," said Judy Da Silva, a Grassy Narrows mother and blockader, "We agreed to share the lands with the newcomers, but we will never give up our inherent right to use and protect the land, water, and the forests."

The roads require repairs because the MNR has not conducted maintenance on the back road network since 2002 when grassroots women and youth put their bodies on the line to block logging machinery from further destroying the forests their community depends on. Previously the back roads had been maintained by local contractors through provincial subsidies provided to the logging industry. The blockade, now in its eighth year is the longest running blockade in Canadian history.

Logging trucks feeding Weyerhaeuser's Trust Joist mill, and Abitibi pulp and paper mills shifted their clearcut logging operations to other parts of the territory until June 2008 when AbitibiBowater bowed to pressure and surrendered their license to log on the Whiskey Jack Forest. However, Weyerhaeuser continues to access wood to clearcut on Grassy Narrows Territory and the MNR has threatened to resume logging as early as September.

The back roads are used by Grassy Narrows members to hunt, trap, wild rice picking and berry picking and for access to the Ball Lake fishing lodge. For generations the lodge has been a key source of employment for the community, but since the mercury poisoning of the English-Wabigoon River System the lodge has had minimal economic development benefits for the small Anishinabe Community of Grassy Narrows.

This poisoning in the waters has had devastating effects on the whole lifestyle of the people from Grassy Narrows in all aspects of the dynamics of their social fabric as well as their own economic sustainability as a nation. "The MNR attempt to stop maintenance of the roads is an attack on our community's self sufficiency. It is another attempt by the Province to assert unilateral control over our Territory in violation of our status as a treaty partner."

Click here to read a statement on roadbuilding by the Clan Mothers of Grassy Narrows.

For more information contact:

judy da silva at [email protected] or leave a message at 807 925 2715

roberta keesick at [email protected] or leave a message at 807 925 1104

David Sone at [email protected]


Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.