Sudbury chapter in solidarity with the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation

Brent Patterson
Lundi 9 mai 2016 - 13:30

Elaine Porter and Andre Clement present cheque to Atikmeksheng First Nation Chief Steven Miller.

The Council of Canadians supports the Atikmeksheng First Nation in its struggle to protect its waterways. On April 22, the chapter presented a $400 cheque to the Atikmeksheng First Nation to help it save the waterways within its boundaries threatened by the toxic pollutants remaining from an abandoned mining site.

Chapter activist Andre Clement tells us, "The Long Lake Gold Mine Remediation Project has been going on since 2012 when water sampling at Long Lake by the Long Lake Stewardship and Ministry of Environment revealed elevated levels of arsenic. Since then community advisories have warned against the health hazards associated with recreating, drinking and fishing in the adjacent waters. To date the hazards continue unabated to threaten the territorial waters that sustain community living and the wildlife grazing through the surrounding areas. More sampling is required to build the case for governmental intervention to correct the damages inflicted by one more soulless mining corporation."

In February 2013, CBC reported, "The Long Lake Gold Mine operated in the early 1900s and again in the 1930s. Although there has been some exploration in the area in recent years, all that remains at the site are ruins and a pit full of blue water. ...People with properties near the abandoned mine have been advised to avoid drinking lake water, said Burgess Hawkins from the Sudbury and District Health Unit. ...The levels of arsenic found in the southwest corner of the lake exceed the Ontario standards for drinking water, said Hawkins."

Clement notes, "While this travesty is critical to the Atikmeksheng First Nation it also reflects the common abuses inflicted by mining companies in Northern Ontario that are not held to account for their environmental devastations by existing laws in Ontario."

And he tells us, "The funds donated to the First Nation were generated from contributions received during the presentation of the 'This Changes Everything' documentary sponsored by the chapter in November 2015."

Prior to the screening of that film, which drew 200 people, Sudbury chapter activist Elaine Porter commented, "We see the impact of climate change in our own community, in the form of increased storms and flooding, the growth and spreading of invasive species, in the arrival of Lyme disease, and in shorter snow seasons. We see the impact around the world. And, we see a growing need and desire for a better world where we care for each other and for our Earth. We are thrilled to be bringing this film to Sudbury, on the territory of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation."

The Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation website notes, "Atikameksheng Anishnawbek are descendants of the Ojibway, Algonquin and Odawa Nations. ...The First Nation is located approximately 19 km west of the Greater City of Sudbury. The current land base is 43,747 acres, much of it being deciduous and coniferous forests, surrounded by eight lakes, with eighteen lakes within its boundaries. As of April, 2014 the total population is 1147 members. ...The First Nation Government belongs to a variety of political organizations such as the Assembly of First Nations, Chiefs of Ontario, Anishinabek Nation and North Shore Tribal Council."