Last month, Judy Da Silva was presented with an injunction that was related to a threat by activists to situate a traditional water ceremony on the CN main rail line at Mile 106 and Highway 671, in northwestern Ontario.
Da Silva, a member of Grassy Narrows First Nation, is a front line Anishnaabe activist in the struggle against clear cut logging and the destruction of nature on her territory.
She is in favour of the preservation of indigenous culture and is a mother of five. She is also the recipient of an international peace prize for her work as a non-violent activist.
The purpose of the water ceremony was to protect the territory and its water from the threat of an oil and gas derailment. There have been three CN derailments within one month.
Following the advice of a First Nations elder, the activists decided to go ahead with the water ceremony but not on the tracks; instead they moved their gathering several yards away.
Ontario Provincial Police officers were on the scene monitoring the activity to ensure the protesters complied with CN’s request that they not go ahead with the blockade.
Nevertheless, following the ceremony, activists say a CN representative and an OPP officer seemed unsatisfied with the ceremony, almost as if they were frustrated at not having a reason to arrest the protesters.
At a subsequent celebration for Mother Earth at Winnipeg’s Thunderbird House, Thor Aikenhead, a long-time volunteer with Friends of Grassy Narrows and the Winnipeg Peoples’ Solidarity Movement, spoke about the incident and what happened next. Click on the audio link above, originally broadcast on CKUW 95.9 FM.