Grassy Narrows activists begin 3,000-mile journey

On Friday, community members from the Grassy Narrows First Nation began a journey from their traditional territory in Northwestern 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 co-ordinated with recording artists Propagandhi.
As the tour concludes, 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,” said Grassy Narrows Council Chief Simon Fobister.
“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,” he charged.
“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“Unlike its competitors, Weyerhaeuser clings to outdated practices that ignore the cultural and environmental value of the boreal forest.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,” Sone added.
For more information on the tour, 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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