Grassy Narrows Says No to Nuclear Waste Storage

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Canada has proposed a storage site in the Wabigoon River watershed threatening the land, water, and communities in the area.
Chief Rudy Turtle speaks at a rally
Chief Turtle tells the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) there will be no mining on Grassy territory!

Grassy Narrows First Nation Chief Rudy Turtle has written to the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Canada expressing opposition to a proposed nuclear waste storage site near Ignace, Ontario, in the Wabigoon River watershed. In his latest letter, he said, “The water from that (repository) site flows past our reserve and into the waters where we fish, drink, and swim. The material that you want to store there will be dangerous for longer than Canada has existed, longer than Europeans have been on Turtle Island, and longer than anything that human beings have ever built has lasted.” He then posed the question, “How can you reliably claim that this extremely dangerous waste will safely be contained for hundreds of thousands of years?”

For decades, Grassy Narrows has been struggling for a cleanup of the English-Wabigoon River system which was contaminated by almost 10 tons of mercury dumped by the Dryden Pulp and Paper Mill between 1962 and 1970. Generations of members of Grassy Narrows have been harmed by mercury poisoning, which has a range of effects on the human nervous system. When the contamination was uncovered, the majority of the community lost their livelihoods as fishers and fishing guides. After decades of advocacy, Grassy Narrows leaders have secured some government funding for a river cleanup and a specialized healthcare centre. They continue to advocate for financial compensation for the whole community. Community leaders have adopted a firm stance against environmentally damaging industrial projects. Chief Turtle said in a media interview, “Nuclear waste is dangerous and we don’t want our animals, our land and our people contaminated. We’ve been exposed to contamination before and we just don’t want that anymore for our people.”

CPT – Turtle Island Solidarity Network invites you to pray for the leaders of Grassy Narrows in their long and difficult work to protect the land and future generations. We pray for an end to the evil of environmental racism, and for Canadians to grow into the political courage, imagination and humility to work towards truly sustainable ways of living.

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