Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Molly has just received the following appeal from the Support Roberta Keesick Facebook group. Further information on Roberta Keesick follows after the appeal. Roberta is from the Grassy Narrows First nation, and her crime was...building a cabin without a provincial permit. I'm not kidding. For decades now the people of Grassy Narrows have suffered from the actions of those who do obtain permits- to pollute their water and to clear cut their traditional lands. Since the mercury poisoning due to pulp and paper operators in the 1970s the people of that small community have fought a David and Goliath struggle against both corporations and government. Sometimes they have won. Keesick has been very much a part of this struggle. Here's the appeal.
Roberta Keesick's Trial Date October 20, 2009:
Hi Everyone.

I would like to thank all of you for your interest in Roberta's plight to protect the way of life for the Anishinabe.
October 20, 2009 will be the trial date for Roberta in Red Lake, Ontario.
Leanne Simpson asked how people can support Roberta and I asked her; Roberta could not think of a way that people can support her. So I am putting it out there to you....How can people support Roberta. Can you post it on this site? (The facebook site-Molly )Maybe even people's reaction will also give other people ideas and also remind Roberta of how many people care about her stand on the date of the trial.
Some ideas for support: Prayers; putting tobacco down, or fasting on that day, drumming singing, rallies, letter campaign to MNR, AFN, INAC, Treaty #3 Office, MP etc...
Attend the Trial physically in Red Lake, Do a radio show for her talking about Anishinabek building log cabins on our territories, build awareness and activism. Write an article of Roberta Keesick's stand.
These are just some ideas I have; maybe you have other ideas.
Again Meegwetch for having an interest in this fight.
Here, from the Support Roberta Keesick website is more information on Roberta.
January 27, 2009
In early June, 2008 news that Grassy Narrows First Nation's demand that industrial logging on their territory stop was met when Abitibi-Bowater announced that they would not be seeking a licence in the Whiskey Jack Forest. However the struggle is not over. While the chainsaws have stopped at Grassy Narrows, persecution of those that assert their traditional rights on the land has not ended.
Roberta Keesick, a Grassy Narrows clan mother, trapper, blockader, and grandmother, is facing charges in Red Lake Ontario for building a trappers' cabin on her traditional family lands without a Provincial permit. She has been a tremendous force in the grassroots struggles at Grassy Narrows to reclaim traditional land and assert the right of self determination. The act for which she now faces criminal charges is part of a process of reclamation and revival for Grassy Narrows where people are using the land on their territory as their ancestors have for generations; it is a critically important piece of the work that is being undertaken by the people of Grassy Narrows to empower themselves and to sustain their families, revive their culture and heal their community-this access to land is crucial for the healing of First Nations, and it is this right that is being challenged by the court with the charges that have been brought against Roberta Keesick.
Roberta's trial date is in the spring(It was remanded to the fall-Molly ), and while she has found a lawyer donating his services, he needs his costs of travel, and filing documents with the court covered. These costs will be approximately $4000. She is seeking donations for a legal defense fund. The assertion of rights on traditional land is one of the most important components of the ongoing struggle for Indigenous rights. This case has the potential to set an important precedent; Indigenous people have a right to traditional land use on their traditional territories. This case represents an example of the way that governments disable First Nations from sustaining and empowering themselves. Roberta Keesick's actions-the building of a trapping cabin on her own family's trap line-is a perfect example of how people from Grassy Narrows are asserting their rights through the straightforward actions of living an Anishnaabe life. It is of the utmost importance that any and all of us who are concerned with Indigenous rights and the well being of First Nations communities, support the grassroots struggles at Grassy Narrows and in other communities and to support Roberta Keesick in her struggle to simply live her life on her land. Please donate generously.
To make a donation to Roberta Keesick's legal defense fund you can send an email money transfer to Leah Henderson: With the security question: what is your favourite flower Answer: sunflower.
You can also email to find alternative ways of donating (ie cheque, cash etc).

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