Ojibways of Onigaming join growing Land Defence Alliance amid urgent social crises

Members of the Land Defence Alliance met on Wednesday to discuss the issues facing our Nations and our lands. We face multiple crises both in and outside our Nations arising from attacks on our way of life and the failures of Ontario and Canada. Issues such as youth suicides, drug epidemics and mental health issues. We have had multiple suicides and other unnecessary loss of life within our Nations. For example, in Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug eleven community members have passed between December 2023 and January 2024.

We met today to affirm our support for each other and our determination to defend our lives, lands, and waters. Our Alliance is growing with the addition of the Ojibways of Onigaming led by Chief Jeff Copenace and we will protect what is dear and sacred to us. Our people, our Elders, and our youth are behind us.

“Our land and our livelihood have been cut off, resulting in many of the issues we face today. Our people’s lives matter. We take the position as nations that these lands are stolen. These are our people’s lands,” said Chief Morris of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug.

Chief Rudy Turtle of Grassy Narrows issued an Emergency Declaration two weeks ago and has yet to receive a response from the Ontario or Canadian government.  “Our young people are struggling and have lost their connection to the land,” said Chief Turtle.

“The governments have been non-existent as we face multiple crises both in and outside our communities. We are facing real life issues daily, such as a drug epidemic. The Ontario and Federal governments only care about the resources on our land and not the lives of our people,” said Deputy Chief Allan Brown of Wapekeka First Nation.

“All the government is interested in is stealing our resources. If you are not going to help save our lives then you cannot have access to our lands and waters,” said Chief Copenace of the Ojibways of Onigaming.

“Our very existence is under attack. We need to rise as nations and stand together against colonialism and oppression to defend our lands and our ways of life for future generations. We do that by working together and uniting as nations,” said Chief Moonias of Neskantaga.

This Media Release