16 October 2012
ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: KI watershed expedition – share the stories!
Peacemaker Teams’ Toronto-based Aboriginal Justice Team (AJT) often writes about
indigenous communities facing a threat to their land or way of life. Unlike stories
of violation and reaction, this report celebrates a community proactively asserting
Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) has been
active and successful in resisting destructive resource extraction. The AJT supports
KI’s resistance to mining projects undertaken without consultation, and their groundbreaking
Water Declaration and Consultation Protocol. With the Water Declaration, KI
defines their protection of Big Trout Lake and its 13,025 square km watershed; the Consultation Protocol
proactively sets the conditions for mining companies to work with the community
in extraction projects.
This autumn, community members undertook a 350
km canoe journey through their traditional territory, following a trading route
used by their ancestors and visiting historic sites along the way. In written, photographic and video forms, they recorded
their adventures, including:
cranes, caribou and a wolf – other inhabitants of KI homeland who rely on
the clean water.
a fish by ‘Pants Off Creek’ and a reflection on the vital need to protect
the muskeg, ‘the breathing lands’ (plus, the Oji-Cree term for ‘hurry up and
paddle the canoe’)
gripping encounter with a polar bear (and advice on that during your next
photographs of the northern lights
Beautiful images and video of traveling companions: migrating woodland
Two youth from the community recently filmed learning to run the rapids. While having boatloads of fun they are also helping to protect their home watershed.
Activities like this canoe trip are one way
for KI members to demonstrate and publicise their continued presence on the
land, and their dedication to its protection. Use of the land is a part of KI’s
indigenous identity and cultural expression.
Expedition Photo Gallery
For more information, and to learn how to
support KI’s struggle to protect their lands: KILands.org