Youth and Women from Grassy Narrows to Send Message about Water Protection on their Territory – Idle No More


August 22, 2013

Members of Grassy Narrows First Nation take action to protect Keys Lake

Keys Lake, Asubpeeschoseewagong Territory (Grassy Narrows First Nation)—Today, Anishnabe youth attending the annual Grassy Narrows Youth Gathering, along with women from Grassy Narrows First Nation will be travelling from the centre of Asubpeeschoseewagong Territory to Keys Lake on Hwy 671, to send a message that the lake is still in use by the people of Grassy Narrows and that they intend to protect all the waters on their territory.

Members of Grassy Narrows First Nation along with other Treaty 3 First Nations members will be at the lake from morning (around 10am) until afternoon, informing people—passers-by and people intending to use the lake for recreational purposes—that the lake is on Grassy Narrows Territory and no threats to the health of the water will be allowed.

Grassy Narrows youth will be on the side of Hwy 671 for much of the day, displaying signs with messages about water protection and declaring the intent to protect their territory. A sign will also be erected declaring a ban on all motor-boat usage on Keys Lake.

At the annual environmental youth gathering (Aug.19-22) youth have been discussing environmental issues including mining, pipelines and fracking, have heard presentations on Idle No More and about work with the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women, and have also been learning traditional teachings and ceremonies. The theme of this year’s gathering is “Protecting the Water.”

“This is about reminding people how important water is, especially in a time of destruction and environmental crisis,” said Chrissy Swain, a mother from Grassy Narrows and spokesperson for the group, speaking about being at Keys Lake today. “People need to start stepping up to protect the water, to make sure things do not get any worse,” she said.

People from Grassy Narrows, who live with the tragic legacies of mercury poisoning of their waters  and clear-cutting from decades of industrial logging operations on their territory, are aware that there are now probable intentions for mining at Keys Lake—a currently unpolluted spring-fed lake—and at other sites on their territory.

Grassy Narrows First Nation members have stated an intention to protect their waters from all resource extraction activities and other environmental threats. “We are clearly stating that there is going to be no more destruction and no more pollutants in the water,” says Swain. “We must protect this for our children and for future generations.”


Contact:  Chrissy Swain, 807 407 1468