For Immediate Release           

July 7, 2006     

Contacts: Brianna Cayo Cotter, RAN; 415.305.1943               

Natalie Southworth, Forest Ethics; 604.734.0255

Leah Henderson, Forest Ethics, 647.883.5983





GRASSY NARROWS, ONTARIO - More than 100 supporters from across Canada and

the United States will arrive in Grassy Narrows, Ontario on Monday, July 10

for a week-long Earth Justice Gathering to demand respect for Indigenous

rights and protection for the endangered Boreal Forest. Throughout the week,

Grassy Narrows First Nation community leaders and environmental and social

justice activists will intensify their call for an end to clear-cut logging

without consent on Grassy Narrows Traditional Territory. The weeklong event

will feature a tour of a recently clear-cut area, sweat lodge ceremonies,

traditional feasts, non-violent direct action trainings, and speeches by

Grassy Narrows community members and other First Nations leaders.


"Weyerhaeuser and Abitibi are destroying an ancient way of life and an

ecosystem vital to our planet's health while the McGuinty government fails

to act to resolve this crisis," said Brant Olson, director of Rainforest

Action Network's Old Growth campaign. "We're working with banks and buyers

to stand with the people of Grassy Narrows and send a wake up call."


For more than a decade, the Grassy Narrows community has struggled to end

clear-cut logging on their traditional land. Government and industry have

failed to respond to years of official complaints, environmental assessment

requests, negotiations, and public protests which gave rise to a blockade

that has kept logging trucks off highway 671 for more than three years. The

Earth Justice Gathering marks the latest development in the growing

international response to a call to action issued by Grassy Narrows

community leaders in late Feb., 2006.


"The clear-cutting of the land is an attack on our people," said Roberta

Keesick, a Grassy Narrows blockader, grandmother and trapper. "The land is

the basis of who we are. Our culture is a land-based culture, and the

destruction of the land is the destruction of our culture. Weyerhaeuser and

the McGuinty government don't want us on the land, they want us out of the

way so they can take the resources.  We can't allow them to carry on with

this cultural genocide."


Last month, the Superior Court of Ontario ordered the province to pay legal

costs associated with a lawsuit challenging clear-cut logging on the

community's traditional lands. However, proceedings for the three-year old

legal action will not be heard until late 2008. Meanwhile, clear-cutting

continues unabated. In a recent submission to the United Nations, Amnesty

International argued that current logging on Grassy Narrows traditional land

violates the community's Indigenous rights to self-determination and culture

and fails to meet international standards of "free prior and informed

consent" for development on traditional Indigenous lands.


"There is a crisis of neglect and mismanagement brewing across Ontario's

Boreal Forest," said Leah Henderson, Boreal Forest Campaigner for

ForestEthics. "We are here to support Grassy Narrows and to call on

Weyerhaeuser and the McGuinty government to ensure this community's rights

and title are honored and respected."