Sudbury Working Group

Local Independent News

More independent news:
Do you want free independent news delivered weekly? sign up now
Can you support independent journalists with $5? donate today!
Not reviewed by editors. copyeditedfact checked [?]

Solidarity in Sudbury: An Interview and Photos

by Larson Heinonen

For several days ending this past Sunday, a number of indigenous activists erected a teepee in Memorial Park in downtown Sudbury in solidarity with the people of Elsipogtog First Nation and in opposition to the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. (Photo by Larson Heinonen)
For several days ending this past Sunday, a number of indigenous activists erected a teepee in Memorial Park in downtown Sudbury in solidarity with the people of Elsipogtog First Nation and in opposition to the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. (Photo by Larson Heinonen)
Wilmer Nogonosh was one of the organizers of the event. (Photo by Larson Heinonen)
Wilmer Nogonosh was one of the organizers of the event. (Photo by Larson Heinonen)
People putting up the teepee in Memorial Park. (Photo by Larson Heinonen)
People putting up the teepee in Memorial Park. (Photo by Larson Heinonen)
People putting up the teepee in Memorial Park. (Photo by Larson Heinonen)
People putting up the teepee in Memorial Park. (Photo by Larson Heinonen)
The teepee is up! (Photo by Larson Heinonen)
The teepee is up! (Photo by Larson Heinonen)
For a number of the participants, this will be home for several days. (Photo by Larson Heinonen)
For a number of the participants, this will be home for several days. (Photo by Larson Heinonen)
Nogonosh checking on the wood for the fire that was kept burning during the entire stay in Memorial Park. (Photo by Larson Heinonen)
Nogonosh checking on the wood for the fire that was kept burning during the entire stay in Memorial Park. (Photo by Larson Heinonen)

On a rainy Saturday afternoon, I took cover under the Gazeebo in Memorial Park and had a chat with Wilmer Noganosh. Wilmer and several First Nation friends of his have set up a Tee-Pee in the park to express Solidarity with Elsipogtog First Nation near Rexton, NB who are protesting fracking. You can visit Wilmer and his friends till Sunday and ask about fracking or any other Native Issue. They can answer your questions and help clear up any misconceptions about their Culture. Now, here are my notes from our chat.

Larson: Why are you here in Memorial Park?

Wilmer: We are here to support the First Nations in New Brunswick and to draw attention to the harm fracking does. The chemicals used in fracking go into our water and where fracking is now done the water coming out of your tap can actually be lit on fire. Fracking and other mining practises harms our planet. We need this planet. This is not just a First Nations issue, but a human being issue. It affects all of us, not just Natives. Also, not too many here are gonna see benefits from fracking. The money in this case goes to some oil executives in Texas.

Larson: I hope the Natives on the East Coast succeed. I spend a lot of time hiking in the woods around Sudbury and I want the bush stays as pristine as it is now. I don’t want anyone fracking around here. I hope this fracking is nipped in the bud before it gets here. So what if someone comes here and wants to know just generally about Native Issues?

Wilmer: Sure, everyone is welcome to visit us and we will share with them whatever we have.

Larson: When I first came to this country, I was surprised and disappointed to learn that many Natives lived in Third World conditions on reserves.

Wilmer: Much of the land we have on reserves is useless. My reserve is swamp. Swamp and rock. We’d like to be self-sufficient but we can’t grow much on reserves. We buy most of our food in grocery stores but it’s not fresh and you don’t know what kind of chemicals were used to grow it.

Larson: Right, I grow much of my food in a community garden and I can always get fresh vegetables and I know that they were grown using only water. And I know that they weren’t on a truck for a couple of weeks from God knows where.

Wilmer: One misconception is that Natives don’t pay taxes. Not true. Many non-Natives believe this and are surprised when I tell them that I do pay taxes. If I work on the reserve I don’t pay taxes but if I work in the city – many Natives do – I pay taxes like anyone else. It’s not an option, it’s deducted from my pay check.

Larson: I don’t like paying taxes either, but if we don’t, we might get thrown in jail. Before we end our chat, is there anything you’d like to mention that is important to you?

Wilmer: So many people criticize us for this and that but I think you should first come and find out what we are about. Come and see us at the Tee-Pee and learn about us.

Larson: Especially with the Idle No More movement, I have noticed that more and more white people are coming to your side and supporting you. Do you think Harper is more likely to listen now that whites are marching with you?

Wilmer: It’s definitely good that non-Natives are involved but I think it still boils down to the old mighty dollar. Harper is opening Canada up for corporations to come in. Money is what matters. We have pipelines going to the South and now fracking. Harper helps those with money.

Larson Heinonen is a Sudbury-based photographer and artist. This article originally appeared on larsonsgallery.com.


Socialize:
Want more grassroots coverage?
Join the Media Co-op today.
Topics: Indigenous

About the poster

Trusted by 1 other users.
Has posted 662 times.
View grassrootssudburymedia's profile »

Recent Posts:


grassrootssudburymedia (Grassroots Sudbury Media)
Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
Member since July 2011

About:


Creative Commons license icon Creative Commons license icon

655 words

Join the media co-op today
Things the Media Co-op does: Support
Things the Media Co-op does: Report
Things the Media Co-op does: Network
Things the Media Co-op does: Educate
Things the Media Co-op does: Discover
Things the Media Co-op does: Cooperate
Things the Media Co-op does: Build
Things the Media Co-op does: Amplify

About the Sudbury Working Group

The Sudbury working-group of The Media Co-op was formed to create independent media in the North, to speak to our issues and outlooks on our communities as well as the world around us. Independent media provides an avenue for people who are wishing to gain critical perspective on the issues that matter most to us, and to give a voice to those people and stories that you won't find in the mainstream media.

Currently, the Sudbury working group is on pause, due to a lack of members.  If you are keen to take on the challenge of creating and supporting local grassroots media, please get in touch.

Contact us at grassrootssudburymedia@gmail.com or follow us on Facebook.

If we become active again, we encourage you to support local grassroots media by:

  • Getting a membership. Membership fees are intended to pay local writers for local content and support emerging writers.  Membership forms are here
  • Submitting content. We are able to pay for a limited number of strong local pieces.  Contact us to pitch an idea, or for story ideas.   See our Editorial Policy here.  We encourage local grassroots groups to submit content about their work, issues and events.  

 

 

 

 

 

User login


Google+
Subscribe to the Dominion $25/year

The Media Co-op's flagship publication features in-depth reporting, original art, and the best grassroots news from across Canada and beyond. Sign up now!