Indigenous Activists Kick off 3,000 Mile Journey to Evict Weyerhaeuser from Their Land
For Immediate Release:
February 23, 2007
GRASSY NARROW, ONTARIO - On Friday, Feb. 23, community members from the Grassy Narrows First Nation will begin a journey from their traditional territory in Northwest Ontario to the headquarters of logging giant Weyerhaeuser in Federal Way, Wash. Despite years of community opposition, Weyerhaeuser continues to produce and sell building materials made from wood clear-cut and taken without community consent from Grassy Narrows land.
The "Road to Seattle" tour will feature presentations from community members and organizing workshops hosted by activists working locally and nationally to defend forests and promote Indigenous rights. Stops on the tour include Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria before culminating in Washington state.
The tour is being organized by U.S.-based NGO Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and local environmental and human rights organizations and includes events coordinated with recording artists Propagandhi. As the tour concludes, tour members plan to demand that Weyerhaeuser CEO Steve Rogel develop an exit strategy for his company to leave Grassy Narrows and stop marketing homes made with wood clear-cut from Grassy Narrows as "Built Green".
In January, Grassy Narrows leaders declared a moratorium on all industrial activity on their territory without their consent. The community also rebuked plans to increase clear-cut logging. The community has maintained the longest running Indigenous logging blockade in Canadian history, which is now in its fifth year.
"We have been seeking for many years a constructive solution to this untenable situation, but the response has always been to talk and log. We cannot sit back and watch the demise of our way of life, which disappears more every time more cutting areas are extended to Abitibi and Weyerhaeuser," said Grassy Narrows Council Chief Simon Fobister.
"Building American suburbs from Canadian clear-cuts is an unethical business model," said David Sone, Old Growth campaigner at the Rainforest Action Network. "Unlike its competitors, Weyerhaeuser clings to outdated practices that ignore the cultural and environmental value of the Boreal Forest. As CEO, Steve Rogel should promote stronger social responsibility at Weyerhaeuser beginning with an exit strategy from Grassy Narrows."
Local tour stops are being sponsored by Rainforest Action Network, Amnesty International, Boreal Forest Network, Boreal Action Project, Indigenous Peoples' Solidarity Movement, "Shaking the Tree", U. of M Environment Department, and the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade.
For more information, please visit FreeGrassy.org
Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break America's oil addiction, protect endangered forests and indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action.
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