On Monday, March 5, about 200 people attended a public speaking event at Toronto Steelworker’s Hall to listen to the stories of Ki community members. KI has been fighting God’s Lake Resources, a Toronto-based mining company which has been threatening to explore on sacred burial grounds in the community’s homeland. KI has been clear that that they want to no industrial development on their lands until there is full consultation and consent from the community.
KI Elder Mary Jane Crow began the night with a prayer, which was then followed by the premier of the video Kanawayandan D’aaki – Protecting Our Land. The video gave context to KI’s previous struggle in stopping Platinex from mining on the territory. The community was able to prevent mining; however, 6 community leaders faced jail time. One of the “KI 6” is KI Councilor Cecilia Begg who spoke following the video.
KI Councilor Randy Nanokeesic; Steven Chapman of the KI Lands and Environment Unit; and Richard Anderson, KI Watershed Coordinator, also spoke at the event.
The leaders were joined the next day by several hundred activists outside the annual convention of the Prospector’s and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) to target God’s Lake Resources. The crowd chanted “Protect KI Sacred Lands” and after speakers from KI, the Council of Canadians, Greenpeace, Ontario Federation of Labour, and MiningWatch Canada, activists danced and rapped to the tune of Kanye West’s Golddigger.
Prior to the rally for justice in KI, the Toronto-based group Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN) organized a creative fashion show called “Community by Design.” A press released issued by the group states that “The outfits satirized the superficial public relations stunts of the mining industry at home and abroad, while bringing attention to the community rights and basic human rights that are violated by these same companies.”
Activists highlighted how Canadian mining companies operating on indigenous land displace people throughout the world. “Lack of regulation in Canada threatens the survival of communities and the natural environment by contaminating water ways, political persecution of resistance leaders, operating without free prior and informed consent, exacerbating poverty and disrupting food systems,” says members of MISN.
Council of Canadians continues to act in solidarity with KI and many other communities fighting mining operations on their lands. We will be raising issues relating to mining injustice in Latin America and in Canada at ‘Shout Out against Mining Injustice’ this June 1-3 in Vancouver.