Protecting the Fawn River watershed: The KI Nation trip to Hudson’s Bay

From August 24 to September 7, a team of paddlers from the KI Indigenous Nation will travel 400 km beyond the nearest road to travel the ancient trading route from their remote fly-in community to Hudson’s Bay.

The Fawn River watershed is the keystone to the KI Nation’s culture, and is also at the centre of the world’s largest intact forest. In response to the threat of mining in this sacred place, the KI people are calling on Ontario to respect their deep connection to the Fawn River and to protect the area for future generations.

“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.”

The team will communicate throughout their travels through satellites in order to transmit blogs, photos, and audio to thousands of supporters via social media portals. They will be sharing the landscape with threatened woodland caribou, wolves, sturgeon, polar bears, beluga whales and the iconic northern lights. You can follow their journey at www.kilands.org.

KI and their allies have already stopped mining companies like Platinex and God’s Lake Resources from carrying out exploration on their land. Through bold action campaigns, the community has also successfully pressured the Ontario government to withdraw approximately half of their watershed from all mining activity.

The ultimate goal now is to protect the entire watershed, which accounts for more than 13,000 square kilometres of pristine wilderness. Ontario has yet to recognize KI’s right to protect this space in its entirety and to govern their Homeland. Much of the community’s watershed remains open to speculation by gold, diamond, and metals mining companies.

Indigenous communities like KI are dependent on the integrity of ecosystem functioning and the safeguarding of water sources in order to survive. Last year, an overwhelming majority of individuals from the KI community voted in support 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 wetlands of the KI Homeland, located in the expanse of Canada’s Boreal Forest, form part of one of the world’s largest on-land carbon sinks, which plays a critical role in mitigating climate change. The Boreal is also the world’s greatest reservoir of fresh water, and is among the largest unlogged forests left on earth. Some of the spectacular rivers in the world flow through territories of Indigenous Nations in Ontario’s Far North, each running for hundreds of kilometres, unimpeded by dams or manmade constructs. The pure water is stored in expansive, pristine watersheds, which provide an invaluable source of clean water for the peoples of Canada’s North.

 

Please support the KI Nation and help protect their land and water. Here is what you can do:

 

– Share KI’s story. Follow the KI Watershed Expedition at http://kilands.org//waterexpedition/. They will be posting blogs, photos, videos, action alerts and more throughout the expedition.  Please share the story through your networks by re-posting emails like this one on on facebook, twitter, websites, and email lists.

– Tell the Ontario government to respect KI’s demands to govern their territory and protect their land and water from unwanted mining.  http://kilands.org/tell-mcguinty-to-respect-ki-sacred-landscape/

– Join the KI Supporter facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/TorontoKISupport   

– Link to the KI Watershed Expedition page.  There is a web button for you to embed and share. http://kilands.org/?p=997

– Post a blog about the event on your web page. A sample blog that you can adapt is online at: http://www.mediacoop.ca/blog/jessicabell/12142

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