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URGENT: STRUGGLE FOR LAND AND JUSTICE IN KITCHENUHMAYKOOSIB INNINUWUG (KI)

No One Is Illegal-Toronto Statement, December 2011

As early as this month, God's Lake Inc. a mining company based in Toronto, will attempt to begin exploration on sacred burial grounds in traditional KI territory, about 20 hours north of Toronto.

With the Ontario government refusing to act, the KI Nation has called for allies in Toronto to urgently support their political campaign to defend their lands and sovereignty.

Please immediately sign a petition at http://kilands.org/tell-mcguinty-to-respect-ki-sacred-landscape/. Other ideas for individuals and organizations to take action are at www.KIlands.org

Join the facebook page: www.facebook.com/TorontoKISupport

If you are available to attend emergency actions in Toronto in the near future (and/or spread word of them) and would like to be on the Toronto KI Support Network phone tree, please email your phone number to:toronto.ki.actionnetwork@gmail.com.

BACKGROUND

In 2008, the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) Nation in northwestern Ontario celebrated a precedent-setting victory against Platinex mining company. Supported by Indigenous nations and allies across the country, KI community members used everything from blockades to letter writing, demonstrations to sleep-ins on the lawn of Provincial Parliament, to stop Platinex from exploring its platinum prospects in the territory.

KI is a small fly-in Oji-Cree community. At the heart of the community is Big Trout Lake, a rich body of water long eyed by corporations with intentions to “develop” the territory. Like many other Indigenous communities across Turtle Island exercising their sovereignty, KI was told by the provincial government they would be forced to “negotiate”with Platinex, in direct violation of treaties signed and their inherent right to refuse extractive industries on their traditional lands. In the face of mounting opposition, the McGuinty government paid Platinex $5 million plus court fees to reluctantly leave the territory, choosing to transfer public funds to a corporation rather than to hold it to account for trying to enter into sovereign indigenous territory.

This victory was not easily earned. Chief Donny Morris and five other brave community members were jailed for defending traditional lands. Had it been successful, Platinex would have done what mining companies are doing elsewhere across traditional territories globally: invading Indigenous lands for mining while contaminating water supplies and fisheries, dumping cancerous chemicals, clear-cutting forests, and displacing the rightful custodians of the land.

Today, KI again faces an attack on their territories. The gold mining corporation God’s Lake Resources has staked claims over sacred KI burial grounds and is threatening to invade within weeks. An attempt to form a joint resolution panel between KI and the Ontario government has collapsed, bringing the KI community back to where it was at the beginning of the Platinex dispute. The focus of their exploration site isdirectly on top of sacred KI burials as well as hunting, fishing, and KI cultural areas..

KI and its supporters are now forced to mobilize in a renewed struggle against the colonial Canadian government and laws and its corporate allies.

THE WATER DECLARATION AND KI’S INHERENT RIGHT TO PROTECT THE LAND

On July 6, 2011, with an overwhelming 96% of voter support, KI adopted the Water Declaration and Consultation Protocols to outline its relationship with the Federal Government, the Government of Ontario, and corporations. The declaration is rooted in the understanding that a people’s control over local land and water is vital for healthy living and traditional livelihoods.

The Water Declaration protects the 13,000 sq km of KI’s home watershed and deems it off limits to all industry. The Consultation Protocol outlines KI’s right to free prior and informed consent with regards to, as well as the right to refuse, exploration and industry on the rest of their entire Homeland.

It states: “We declare all waters that flow into and out of Big Trout Lake, and all lands whose waters flow into those lakes, rivers, and wetlands, to be completely protected through our continued care under KI’s authority, laws and protocols…No industrial uses, or other uses which disrupt, poison, or otherwise harm our relationship to these lands and waters will be permitted.”

In blatant disregard for KI’s moratorium and Consultation Protocol, the McGuinty government has refused to stop God's Lake Incorporated from attempting to begin exploration.

Support the KITCHENUHMAYKOOSIB INNINUWUG (KI) Nation

McGuinty and Harper continue to pass the buck between themselves insisting they have no ability to stop God's Lake Resources from entering KI territory.

WE WILL NOT BE FOOLED! The inaction by both levels of government is an attempt to further grant access to corporations to Indigenous territories and to disarm Indigenous sovereignty movements.

Support KI as the inherent governor of their indigenous homeland, known as Kitchenuhmaykoosib Aaki.

Demand that the Ontario government:

1. Ensure that the Gods Lake Resources mining exploration project in the KI sacred landscape stops immediately, and a joint panel process begins promptly to respectfully protect the sacred landscape, and avoid future conflict. Additionally, a full investigation should be carried out, and the government officials who allowed this project to begin should be held accountable.

2. Recognize and respect KI’s Water Declaration and Consultation Protocol. Begin respecting KI's Water Declaration by immediately giving the watersheds protection and commencing negotiations with KI on the recognition of KI's governance of the watersheds.

3. Respect KI’s moratorium on all logging, mining exploration and industrial activity unless and until they have been agreed to through KI’s Consultation Protocol.

Please distribute this message widely over email lists, facebook and other social media. Further calls for action will be appearing in the next few weeks.

In Solidarity,
No One Is Illegal – Toronto