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LOCATION: Ministry of Natural Resources
Whitney Block (at the corner of Queen’s Park Circle and Wellesley, in front of two large canons)
DATE: Monday, April 23
TIME: 11 am
Join us as we tell the Ontario government to uphold its duties to the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (MBQ) and to the environment. Join us as we deliver direct evidence of illegal dumping and a message sent by the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte to the steps of the Ministry of Natural Resources. It is time the MNR and the Province of Ontario stepped up and took responsibility for their part in the destruction and theft of indigenous land.
One month ago, the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte reclaimed a portion of the Culbertson Tract – 925 acres of land taken from their community, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, in 1832.The land reclaimed by the Mohawk community pointedly includes a gravel quarry. Beyond the obvious direct thieving of stolen land which quarry operations so blatantly embody – more than 100,000 tonnes of land are trucked out every year, to benefit settler Canadian business interests – it has since been discovered that the crimes against the Mohawk Territory are greater than first imagined.
Thurlow Aggregates, the quarry operators, were also carrying out illegal dumping of waste on this site. Building materials, batteries and highway asphalt have been uncovered. The operators went so far as to try and bury the evidence of this scandalous activity, when they became aware of the Mohawk’s intended reclamation of the land.
While this information was made public several weeks ago, the Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) – responsible both for the licensing and environmental standards of quarry operations in this province – has refused to inspect it.
Since day one of the quarry takeover, the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte have demanded that the quarry license be revoked. Not only has the MNR refused to comply, but the MNR District Manager came to the Territory, only to refuse to see the evidence of the dumping and environmental destruction at the quarry.
The MNR refuses to act despite Federal government recognition of the validity of the Mohawk’s claim to the land. The Province of Ontario has failed in every way – no proper monitoring of the quarry, no revocation of the license to ensure its rightful owners can clean up the mess that has been made and put the land to healthy use, complete risk of the local environment and local water supply. Before the quarry was reclaimed, the MNR sat back and collected fees from the operation of removing stolen land from the Culbertson Tract.
Join us on Monday, as we demand the Province of Ontario own up to its inaction and answer for its role in the devastation and pilfering of indigenous land.
This demonstration is organized by a coalition including No One Is Illegal-Toronto, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, and members of the Coalition In Support of Indigenous Sovereignty.
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