ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: KI watershed expedition – share the stories!

16 October 2012
ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: KI watershed expedition – share the stories!

Christian 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 its rights.

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:

Eagles, cranes, caribou and a wolf – other inhabitants of KI homeland who rely on the clean water.

Catching 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’)

A gripping encounter with a polar bear (and advice on that during your next encounter...)

Amazing photographs of the northern lights

Beautiful images and video of traveling companions: migrating woodland caribou

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