Thursday, February 12, 2009

Grassy Narrows needs your help 2009

By Leah Henderson,

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, and while we have found her 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 defence 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 Anishnabe 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 defence 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 the above email address to find alternative ways of
donating (ie cheque, cash etc)

Leah Henderson
"The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they
are selling...their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their
weapons, their notion of inevitability. Remember this: We be many and
they be few. They need us more than we need them. Another world is not
only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing."
Arundhati Roy

"We the willing
Led by the unknowing
Doing the impossible
For the ungrateful
Have done so much with so little for so long
That we are now capable of doing anything
with nothing."

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Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008:
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