- Published on Wednesday, 11 April 2012 22:40
Ontario recently bought out GLR mining claims and leases on KI Homeland under intense pressure from KI and their many supporters. That area was added to over 23,000 sq km of KI land withdrawn from mining exploration earlier in March. This is a huge accomplishment for this remote Indigenous community and for all people who fight for Indigenous sovereignty and environmental justice.
KI declared a moratorium on all industry in their Homeland in 2000. GLR knowingly staked claims in violation of the moratorium and, to make matters worse, the mining claims were in a sacred area that included KI ancestral graves. KI vowed not to allow the exploration and now they have succeeded.
This is the second time that KI has kicked a mining company off their Homeland. In 2008 KI Chief Morris and five other KI leaders were jailed for saying not to platinum exploration they feared would contaminate their home lake. Ontario was forced to buy out that company as well, under massive public pressure and national media scrutiny.
KI's vision, courage, and determination offer a path forward for many communities who are fighting similar battles. They took a strong, principled stand, cultivated deep unity and commitment within their community, and forged powerful alliances with social movements across old boundaries. They then applied relentless pressure with their supporters through the media, research, public protest, and direct action until they had accomplished their goal. Now companies across the province will think twice before trying to force their way onto Indigenous lands without consent.
KI's fight is not over. They have invited Ontario back to the negotiation table to resolve many outstanding issues. KI is still demanding recognition for their Water Declartaion, which places their entire home watershed off limits to industry forever, and their Consultation Protocol. They are fighting to control their own Homeland and their own lives. We will continue to support them.