Thursday, April 3, 2008

Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nations

I took these photos at a rally on Friday March 21st at the Thunder Bay Jail grounds to protest the incarceration of six Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nations (K.I.) band council members. They were jailed because they refuse to allow Platinex, a mining exploration company, to explore on their traditional lands. They live in northern Ontario.

If you look close, you will see Head Councillor Cecilia Begg looking out of the window at the jail when we were out rallying. She was put in a holding cell. This jail, built in 1926, is one of the worst in Canada. She is the only female among the 6 community members incarcerated and is separated from the men, who are held at Thunder Bay Correctional Institute. Councillor Begg was transferred to Kenora Jail last week on Friday. The first interview with Cecilia since she has been jailed can be found here.
If you would like to send Cecilia, who is a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, cards, postcards, or letters of support, here is the address:
Cecilia Begg
Kenora Jail
1430 River St.
Kenora Ont
P9N 1K5

There was a rally last week, Friday March 28, in Kenora, called for by the K.I. women to give Cecilia support and call attention to loss of rights of the K.I. people. You can read Councillor Susan Nanokeesic's talk here. In her speech she cites an Elder from K.I.: "Our Mother Earth weeps every time one of her creations dies off and she becomes weak, and her strength slowly diminishes." Susan Nanokeesic explains that the K.I. people have been jailed for standing up to protect against negative impacts on lands, animals, birds, plants, and the air we breathe. "Women must rise up to resist any kind of mining development," she says.

The people of Kitchenuhmaykoosib are protecting the lands for their children, for 7 generations, and for all beings, all of their relations. This little girl is the future!

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine at the Thunder Bay rally with the issue burning behind him! To keep posted on the developments regarding the K.I. First Nations, visit the the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug and friends blog. I have also posted the link in the right margin. If you wish to write a letter to Premier McGuinty to protest the jailing of people who have been peacefully and patiently asking that their rights to decide on their land be respected, click here. Except, please note, they have the wrong jail noted down for Cecilia.

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