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Political Science Environmental Policy

Strong Hearts, Native Lands

Anti-Clearcutting Activism at Grassy Narrows First Nation

by (author) Anna Willow

University of Manitoba Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2012
Environmental Policy
Recommended Age
Recommended Grade
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2012
    List Price

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In December 2002 members of the Grassy Narrows First Nation blocked a logging road to impede the movement of timber industry trucks and equipment within their traditional territory. The Grassy Narrows blockade went on to become the longest-standing protest of its type in Canadian history. The story of the blockade is a story of convergences. It takes place where cultural, political, and environmental dimensions of Indigenous activism intersect; where history combines with current challenges and future aspirations to inspire direct action. In Strong Hearts, Native Lands, Anna J. Willow demonstrates that Indigenous people? decisions to take environmentally protective action cannot be understood apart from political or cultural concerns. By recounting how and why one Anishinaabe community was able to take a stand against the industrial logging that threatens their land-based subsistence and way of life, Willow offers a more complex “nd more constructive?understanding of human-environment relationships. Grassy Narrows activists have long been part of a network of supporters that extends across North America and beyond. This book shows how the blockade realized those connections, making this community? efforts a model and inspiration for other Indigenous groups, environmentalists, and social justice advocates.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Anna J. Willow is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Ohio State University.

Librarian Reviews

Strong Hearts, Native Lands: Anti-Clearcutting Activism at Grassy Narrows First Nation

When the Anishinaabe people at Grassy Narrows blocked a logging road in December, 2002, they began a long process of resistance. Willow chronicles what became the longest-running indigenous blockade in Canadian history, as well as the history of the reserve, including its disastrous relocation in the early 1960s from spacious clan-based configurations to Canadian subdivisions. Crime and alcohol-based problems became rampant. In the 1970s, methyl mercury was discovered. Contaminated lakes and rivers caused serious illnesses and deaths. Commercial fishery was banned, leading to loss of tourism and the main food source. With this blockade, the people of Grassy Narrows reclaimed their cultural identity and determined their own future.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2013-2014.

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