A 250-mile Paddling Trek for the Wild Farm River Watershed
August 23, 2012 | One Comment
From August 24 to September 7, a team of paddlers from the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) Indigenous Nation will venture 400 km (250 mi) beyond the nearest road to travel the ancient trading route from their remote fly-in community to Hudson’s Bay.
They are calling on Ontario to respect their deep connection to the wild Fawn River watershed—a foundation of their culture and the threatened heart of the world’s largest intact forest.
“The KI people have protected our entire home watershed through Indigenous Law,” said KI Chief Donny Morris. “Now we are calling on Ontario to respect our protection before this sacred landscape is poisoned by the diamond, gold, and metals mining companies who have set their sights on it.”
En route they will use satellites to transmit blogs, photos, and audio to thousands of supporters via social media portals as they share the landscape with threatened woodland caribou, wolves, sturgeon, polar bears, beluga whales and the iconic northern lights.
Through bold action campaigns, KI and their supporters have stopped mining companies Platinex and God’s Lake Resources from exploring on their land. The community has also successfully pressured the Ontario government to withdraw approximately half of their watershed from all mining activity.
Global Greengrants Fund awarded a grant to KI Indigenous Nation to help the community defend their territory in 2011.
But Ontario has yet to recognize KI’s right to protect their entire watershed of 13,025 square kms and to govern their Homeland. Much of the community’s watershed remains open to speculation by gold, diamond, and metals mining companies seeking to capitalize on Ontario’s mining boom.
Indigenous communities like KI depend on the clean water and the fisheries that these rivers provide, and KI is determined to safeguard their water. Last year the KI community voted overwhelmingly in favor of the KI Watershed Declaration, which places the entire 13,025 square km of their vast intact watershed off limits to industry under KI’s Indigenous Law.
The boreal forest of Canada is the world’s greatest reservoir of fresh water and is among the largest unlogged forests left on the planet. Some of the greatest wild rivers in the world flow through territories of Indigenous Nations in Ontario’s Far North, each running free for many hundreds of km without any dams or diversions. The forest and wetlands of KI Homeland are part of the world’s largest carbon storehouse on land—a critical buffer against climate change.
Follow KI’s journey:
- Check out photos from KI.
- Watch the video about KI’s struggle to protect their land.
- Tell the Ontario government to respect KI’s demands to protect their land and water from unwanted mining.