Aamjiwnaang Water Gathering and Toxic Tour 2017
Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines (ASAP)
Coordinator of Aamjiwnaang Water Gathering and Toxic Tour
It is our right as Indigenous people to practice traditional ceremony on the land. As an Anishnaabe kwe, I share the responsibility to work in solidarity to protect the water. Our health is deeply rooted in the environment we live and grow in. The impacts of colonization continues to disconnect our relationship with the land and water. The government of Canada and multinational oil companies are responsible for allowing Cancer-causing carcinogenic chemicals into the air we breath in our homes. Average Canadians are ignorant to the impacts of Climate Change because they don’t see it. Our team Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines strives to educate the general public about environmental racism by inviting everyone to visit Aamjiwnaang First Nation.
ASAP continues to assert our rights as Indigenous people and uphold our Sovereignty by defending the land and holding big oil accountable to poisoning our people and land. This is not only a human rights issue, but also an environmental crisis. Public education and awareness building of ongoing social and environmental issues connects communities. There has been historical spills and no consent being properly asked for this territory to be polluted. We coordinate and organize within the community and host solidarity events.
Our community is on the front line of Canada’s Chemical Valley where environmental racism is a daily reality. Sharing a fence-line with companies including Shell, Suncor, Imperial Oil and Nova is an ongoing struggle for our territory and our nation. Aamjiwnaang First Nation is located in the centre of over 60 high-emitting facilities within a 50km radius of our homes. Facilities in our area handle and transport hazardous chemicals, the out sourcing and manufacturing of petroleum products. Our traditional territory is home to about 40 percent of Canada's petrochemical industry, in a 2007 Ecojustice report, and in 2011 the World Health Organization crowned our air as the worst in Canada. There are hazardous material leaks, industrial ﬁres and air quality warnings. Spilled and leaked substances included hydrogen sulﬁde, methyl chloride, hydrocarbons and benzene. Last year we held our first Aamjiwnaang Water Gathering and Toxic Tour together. We brought in large numbers of supporters. We created discussion around the Great Lakes and action towards future of the fresh waters. Lush Cosmetics North America has generously supported us through the Charity Pot grant. We host a weekend-long educational event including workshops, free camping and meals.
The Gathering this year will be as follows:
WATER GATHERING AND TOXIC TOUR 2017
AAMJIWNAANG FIRST NATION
SEPTEMBER 29- October 1, 2017
Friday, September 29th
Indigenous Motherhood Connection to Water Panel Discussion
Opening Social by the Fire
Saturday, September 30
Local teachings of the land and water
Teachings about why we protect the water
Sunday, October 1
1. a) Toxic Tour - Bus b) Teachings - Classrooms
2. a) Toxic Tour - Bus b) Teachings - Classrooms
Dinner/ Closing ceremony