Sunday, November 28, 2004

One example of environmental racism:

In July 2004 elevated levels of mercury were found in five non-native men who worked in this Weyerhauser pulp and paper mill in Dryden, Ontario. Within a month and a half, a clinic was set for their treatment. The government’s response to mercury poisoning of Native communities is much different. Reports First Nations Drum journalist Lauren Carter:

“In the 1970s, the government informed the Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows First Nation), located 80 km north of Kenora, that several tonnes of inorganic mercury from a pulp and paper mill upstream in Dryden had contaminated their water and fish. While the band eventually received compensation from the Reed Paper Company and the Federal Government, the mercury remains, seriously affecting the health of the land, and a percentage of the 14-square-mile reserve's residents still suffer the effects of mercury poisoning. Add to this the ongoing flooding of their sacred sites, traditional lands and wild rice fields by Ontario Hydro, threats to dump nuclear waste on their Customary Lands, the nightmare of residential schools, sky-high unemployment, and resulting cultural and social problems and you've got a fair mix of misery.”

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