Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day Supports Grassy Narrows Efforts to End Decades of Mercury Contamination

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RiverRun-02Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day calls for action in mercury cleanup in Grassy Narrows First Nation after report indicates recovery of water system is possible even after 60 years of contamination.

“On behalf of the Chiefs of Ontario, I fully support the urgent need to finally begin concrete actions on cleaning up nearly 60 years of mercury contaminated water at Grassy Narrows,” said Regional Chief Day in reaction to a new report on the remediation of the Wabigoon River. The “Rudd, Harris, Sellers Report” was provided to the Ontario government on May 30.

The report states that new technology can speed up the reclamation and recovery of the Wabigoon-English River System, which has been one of the most contaminated waterways in the world since 9,000 kilograms of mercury were dumped in the 1960s and early 1970s by a Dryden pulp and paper mill.

“Yesterday, Premier Kathleen Wynne delivered an historic Statement of Reconciliation. In my response, I noted that we must work together now to restore Ontario’s environment to the pristine conditions enjoyed by our ancestors and the first settlers,” said Regional Chief Day. “Our Peoples signed Treaties to share the lands and resources, not to become victims of polluted waters that have caused brain damage and birth defects, now inflicted upon several generations of Grassy Narrows residents.

“I believe that the Statement of Reconciliation, along with the 2015 Political Accord between Ontario and the Chiefs of Ontario, will enable us to finally address this terrible chapter in our current relationship,” added Regional Chief Day. “As the newly appointed chair of the national Assembly of First Nations’ Chiefs Committee on the Environment, I will ensure that Grassy Narrows remains in the national and international spotlight until real action begins.”

The Grassy Narrows River Run 2016 will take place beginning at noon this Thursday, June 2 at Queen’s Park. The annual run highlights the call for justice and the need to protect the life-giving rivers and forests.

The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada. Follow Chiefs of Ontario on Facebook or Twitter @ChiefsOfOntario.

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