ROBERTSVILLE, ON: CPT Aboriginal Justice Team holds day of prayer and fasting

8 September 2008
ROBERTSVILLE, ON: CPT Aboriginal Justice Team holds day of prayer and fasting

Five CPTers, joined by local non-indigenous residents (who refer to themselves as settlers) and Ardoch Algonquin First Nation (AAFN) members, held a day of prayer and fasting for protection of the earth on Friday, September 5th at the Robertsville mine site where Frontenac Ventures Corporation (FVC), a junior mining exploration company,
has begun exploration for uranium.

The day began early as the small group hung prayer flags saying "Protect Air, Earth, Water" and posted signs declaring "No Uranium Mine" about 200 meters from the entry gate of the site.  At intervals throughout the day, the group processed to the gate to sing and pray, letting FVC know that it had not intimidated those opposed to uranium mining by previous injunctions, arrests, or jailings, and, indeed, they were going to continue to protect the land.

FVC called the Ontario Provincial Police almost immediately during the group's first time of prayer at the gate.  After a brief exchange with CPTers Amanda Jokerst and Joel Klassen, the officer left.  For the remainder of the day, an FVC employee routinely videotaped each prayer session and every individual that joined in support.

The decision to hold this day of prayer and fasting at Robertsville sprang from events that occurred earlier that week.  On 27 August at the Sharbot Lake courthouse, charges were to be brought against FVC by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources but within minutes of beginning the court proceedings, the Crown withdrew all charges.  Then on 28 August at the Mining Act Consultation in Kingston, the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines clearly demonstrated that the provincial government will not place a moratorium on uranium exploration and mining, despite entreaties from numerous citizens, both settler and aboriginal, and municipal representatives living throughout Ontario.

With no backing from either the provincial or federal governments, First Nations and settler communities now know that protecting the land—the destruction of which will have far-reaching consequences—is completely in their hands.  They have spoken unequivocally; as AAFN acting chief Mireille LaPointe noted, "There will be no uranium mine and, moreover, there will be no drilling."  For now they remain on watch, preparing and considering the best nonviolent response should FVC decide to proceed with its drilling program.

In addition, Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation stated in a press release that their negotiations broke down with FVC after its president made false public claims that the two sides were close to an agreement that would allow FVC to drill.  “I am very concerned that such disrespect for the consultation process and the Algonquin communities will lead to a reoccupation of the lands by Shabot community members and other Algonquin and First Nation communities,” said Shabot War Chief Earl Badour Sr.