TWO EVENTS IN SUPPORT OF ONTARIO FIRST NATIONS:
The following events have been advertised by OCAP, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. They both concern the jailing of seven aboriginal leaders whose "crime" was to refuse to allow mining exploration on their lands. They have been sentenced for "contempt of court" for their refusal to bow down.
LAND RIGHTS NOT MINING RIGHTS
FREE ROBERT LOVELACE AND THE KI 6
DATE: Wednesday April 9th, 6 pm
PLACE: Ryerson Student's Union, 55 Gould St (between Victoria and Church)
Featuring: Ovide Mercredi, former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and members of the KI and Ardoch First Nations.
In a travesty of justice and a grave assault on Aboriginal rights, seven Aboriginal leaders are in jail today for upholding indigenous and Canadian law. In March, Robert Lovelace from Ardoch and Chief Donny Morris of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) community, four councillors and one community member were jailed for six months for contempt of court. In two separate cases, they refused mining exploration on their traditional lands without their permission. Additionally, Robert Lovelace and his community have been hit with huge fines.
These Aboriginal leaders were not only protecting indigenous laws, they were also protecting the Canadian constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court of Canada, which says that governments must consult with Aboriginal Nations before licensing mining exploration on their lands.
The KI Six arguments that the Ontario government has a constitutional responsibility to consult with them before issuing a mining permit in their traditional territories were rejected by the court. The judge in the Ardoch case threw out Robert Lovelace's testimony that he was defending Algonquin Law and responsibilities with respect to human activity in their territory.
"I'm prepared to go to jail for my belief in the land," said KI Chief Donny Morris. "This is a land issue based on our sovereignty and I'm prepared to give myself up if the court decides I've disrespected the November ruling to allow Platinex on our land..."
They should not have to go to jail! Premier Dalton McGuinty should withdraw the licenses issued to these mining companies and free Robert Lovelace and the KI 6. The jailing of these leaders is causing terrible suffering and fear in their communities. KI is a remote northern community that has just lost the majority of its leadership and the Ardoch community is facing fines of $50,000. These leaders are also in jail because their communities are poor and cannot afford fines.
"The message delivered through this court decision is one of domination and oppression," said Chief Paula Sherman of the Ardoch decision.
Support the right of a community to say NO to mineral exploration and mining projects that threaten the health of people and ecosystems. Replace the antiquated 'free entry' system of mining and exploration with a process that grants exploration permits only after consultation with affected First Nations communities, and consideration of competing land uses and values.
Join us to show support for the Ardoch and KI communities, to protest these harsh court decisions, and to demand action from Premier Dalton McGuinty.
+ Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation
+Ardoch Algonquin First Nation
+CAW Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy, Ryerson University
+Ryerson Students' Union
+Mamow Sha-way-gi-kay-win North-South Partnership for Children
+Ryerson Aboriginal Students Services
+Christian Peacemaker Teams Canada
+CPAWS Wildlands League
+Indigenous Environmental Network
+Mining Watch Canada
+Laguna Acoma Coalition for a Safe Environment
*************Please distribute widely**************************
TURTLE ISLAND TO PALESTINE - FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!!CAIA FUNDRAISER IN SUPPORT OF THE ARDOCH ALGONQUIN FIRST NATION JOIN US FOR A NIGHT OF LIVE CULTURAL PERFORMANCES, GREAT FOOD,DANCING AND FUN! *********************************************************
Date: Saturday April 12
Time: 7 pm - Door opens at 6:30
Place: Cervejaria - 842 College St. (W of Ossington), Toronto
Suggested donation: $10
Featuring: LAL, DJ NO CAPITALISTA and others. Silent auction and 50/50 draw
To coincide with Palestine Political Prisoners Day, the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid ( CAIA), is organising a fundraiser in support of the struggle of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation (AAFN )against uranium mining on their land. All proceeds will go to the AAFN
On February 15 2008, in a travesty of justice, AAFN Spokesperson Robert Lovelace was sentenced in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Kingston to 6 months incarceration and fines amounting to $25,000 for refusing to comply with an injunction that would prevent him from protesting against uranium mining on land that is part of a 25-year-old Algonquin land claim..In addition, the community was fined $10,000 and Chief Paula Sherman $15,000. The AAFN and the Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation started their blockade of the uranium exploration in the area in June 2007.
The highly politicized nature of these sentences further underscores the on-going criminalization of indigenous people's basic rights to self-determination and the free use of their lands and resources. Just as Israel refuses to fulfill its obligations under international law with respect to the basic rights of the Palestinian people (including the incarceration of over 10,000 Palestinian political prisoners), the Canadian government has decisively rejected its obligations under the 'UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples' and continues to incarcerate indigenous leaders who defend the basic rights of their peoples to self-determination.Such a right includes the right of indigenous peoples to: "freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development" (Article 3, UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples).
The Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) is a grassroots Palestine-solidarity organization which understands Israeli apartheid as one element of a system of global apartheid and therefore stands in solidarity with all oppressed groups around the world, in particular, the indigenous peoples of North America.
For more information on this fundraiser or to find out more about CAIA please email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.caiaweb.org