Feds must consult First Nations about Site 41: May

Feds must consult First Nations about Site 41: May

Posted By Douglas Glynn, Midland Free Press

Posted 10 hours ago

ELMVALE – The federal government has a constitutional duty to consult the First Nations people about Simcoe County’s landfill Site 41, federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May said Saturday.

May told a crowd of more than 100 people gathered in a farm field opposite the dump site that the federal government has a fiduciary responsibility to recognize aboriginal claims, a fact she says is underscored in a number of recent Supreme Court decisions.

In an interview, she said, “Ottawa has an obligation to ensure they are consulted because this is traditional land claim territory.”

Christian Island resident Vicki Monague, who organized the permanent campsite last weekend to protest against the dump, said there are land claim talks going on between the First Nations and Ottawa.

She was unable to elaborate.

May told those at the campsite, and people from the community who came to support them, that they should think “positive things about Ontario Environment Minister John Gerretsen.

“He has done some courageous things as environment minister. He’s dealt with pesticide use and brought in the Green Energy Act,” said May. “There are still some problems because they still want to build nuclear plants, but let’s try to hold him in our positive thoughts and urge him not to allow the good things he’s done be overshadowed by his failing to act to protect your right to clean water; to protect First Nations territory and to say no to Site 41.”

Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop, who was also at the campsite, said he thinks peaceful demonstrations such as the one at the campsite are going to draw the government’s attention to the issue.

“The one thing you don’t want to happen is anything negative. You want to be positive showing that people from all walks of life — particularly our aboriginal brothers and sisters – are here and to show their opposition to Site 41,” said Dunlop. “People like Maude Barlow, Elizabeth May, Danny Beaton and Dale Goldhawk, the folks from the agricultural community and local residents can’t all be wrong.

“I think in the end the people at the county and the people at the province have to say, ‘you know, maybe a mistake has been made here. Maybe there should be a review’,” he said. “Until they actually start dumping garbage in that site I think there’s still a possibility of stopping it. We’ve got to do it a peaceful, honourable, respectful way, and I think that’s what will eventuality turn it around.

“I’ve given up on the county. I just don’t think they’ll change. Their mind is set,” said Dunlop. “It has to happen from Gerretsen’s office. He could bring in legislation on May 25 and kill this, or he could order a moratorium.

“In the end,” Dunlop added, “they have to look at this and acknowledge a mistake has been made.”

(AM 740 radio show host Dale Goldhawk told the crowd that Gerretsen has agreed to an interview on air next Thursday.)

Article ID# 1572227

Natives and community continue peaceful protest of Site 41

Natives and community continue peaceful protest of Site 41

Posted By Sharon Weatherall , Midland Free Press

Posted 16 hours ago


When you close your eyes, the sound of the drum flows through you, beating in rhythm with your heart as it pumps the blood of life through your veins. At your feet, water – the blood of the Mother Earth – wells up from the ground flowing in rivers, creeks and springs to nourish the land and feed all manner of living things which without it would not be here.

For more than a week, members of the Christian Island community have been participating in a peaceful protest on a farm field opposite Site 41, and they have no intention of leaving soon. What started as a weekend ceremony organized by native and Metis women to honour the moon, sun and earth has become a permanent encampment that will stay in place until the development of Site 41 is stopped. Local native women have put the call out to other First Nations people across the country to join with them to keep a sacred fire burning.

Other local residents from the surrounding community are supporting the peaceful protest, assisting the natives in any way they can, providing wood, food and other materials to make the camp comfortable.

On Friday evening, about 150 residents of Springwater and Tiny Townships joined Metis and native people at the camp to celebrate the movement with a potluck meal, speeches and entertainment.

Group spokesperson Vicki Monague said the group will continue to hold ceremonies, a sacred fire and drumming. Monague said the word is spreading and so far the gates of the landfill have not opened.

“We want the federal government to intervene on behalf of First Nations people to protect the Alliston aquifer,” said Monague. “To my knowledge, this is the first time in Canada that non-Native people and First Nations have taken a stand in this region, side-by-side, against the Government. We will continue to stand unified with our White brothers and sisters against Site 41.

“Our voices have been heard by Native Elders in Utah and California and we are quickly gaining support from other First Nation communities,” she said. “Our sacred fire has been lit and will continue to burn until our demands are met. We are now inviting all First Nations People in Canada to come and take part in our Peaceful Protest of Site 41.”

The campsite is on land owned by Art Parnell, who agrees that Site 41 is not a proper site for a dump and he would like to see it stopped.

“We have two flow wells on our farm and the landfill will jeopardize the water in the wells,” said Parnell, who runs a dairy farm. “The water is tested two or three times a year to ensure that it meet Ontario Potable Water standards.

“Supporting the native community is another step in helping to stop Site 41. I think it is a good initiative by the natives and as a community we are showing good support towards them,” he said. “People have been helping however they can to make them comfortable and show support. We are trying to keep the water clean for our kids and grandkids. (Dumpsite opponent) Steve Ogden says there has never been a landfill that didn’t pollute and this one will too – we don’t want to leave that legacy.”

Ogden told the gathering that in his wildest dreams, he could never imagine this happening.

“We will stand up together, and when we stand together we have to push – a lot of people pushing is a lot of power,” said Ogden. “The politicians need to know what we support. Water is sacred and we don’t need a dump here – this does not make sense they would spend $5.5 million to build another landfill when we already have capacity in our landfill.

“With recycling and zero waste we will have even more capacity and no need for landfill. I would rather spend that money on educating out kids about the environment instead of using it to dig a hole in the ground.”

Midland drummer Liz Appleton joined the community dinner and participated in the entertainment of the evening.

“I think the gathering here tonight shows community support and awareness. I am humble at what these people the land are doing,” she said. “When you come here with a negative attitude you put it in the fire and leave with a positive attitude.

“The First Nations people have pulled together in this peaceful protest in unity for the land and to stop Site 41 and I think they will do it.”

Neighbour Jack Dyer said he thinks the native protesters are “doing a good job.

“I hope the protest is successful and will do what I can to help them by bringing wood for the fire,” said Dyer.

Neighbour and retired farmer Keith Wood said the land was “full of water,” and shared childhood memories of annual basement floods and ample flooding in the field each spring. Having protested Site 41 from the beginning, Wood commended the natives for what they were doing.

“Thank God they are here – they are needed,” said Wood. “They give this fight a new angle.

Aboriginal Affairs Officer/Aboriginal Working Group Secretary/Treasurer Shelley Essaunce has visited the site several times and attended the feast on Friday night. She said the gathering was to share with the neighbours what they are doing and why.

“We’d like to ensure that we are communicating and building relationships with them in

a good way,” said Essaunce, who shared a poem about the environment at the gathering. “The women are standing up for the water and standing united. We are committed to doing this in a peaceful manner.”

Environmentalist Danny Beaton spoke at the event and played a Native America flute along with native drummer and singer John Hawke, a resident of Christian Island. The women commended Hawke for his help in keeping the fire burning from day one. Elder and water protector Gloria King said prayers and Wasauksing First Nation drummer Ethel Chynoweth spoke on behalf of the native women, saying the protest to protect the water was a “reminder of what our job is as native women”.

On Saturday, Green party Leader Elizabeth May attended the campsite and spoke on her support for the stand being taken by the natives and area residents such as Ogden.

Two online petitions have been set up: www.stopdumpsite41.ca and www.dannybeaton.ca

Article ID# 1572204