On Sun. Sept. 18, as a CKUW volunteer, I was in Asubpeechoseewagong First Nation (Grassy Narrows) for the Anishnaabe Medicine Gathering.
This event coincided with the visit of a delegation of Japanese doctors who are conducting ongoing research on mercury poisoning in the community, in collaboration with the latter.
Residents of Grassy Narrows have long been suffering the effects of mercury poisoning, ever since the pulp and paper mill in Dryden dumped 10 tonnes of the deadly chemical into the English-Wabigoon River system from 1962 til 1970.
Now, high levels of mercury are found in the bodies of generations of residents, as well as in the fish of almost all the lakes surrounding the community.
In this interview, Dr. Masanori Hanada, a veteran researcher of the Minamata disease (mercury poisoning) speaks about the history of the poisoning in the community as well as in Wabasemoong First Nation, and shares some strategies for fighting government indifference and repression of the problem.
Throughout, listeners will also hear audio recorded during a community meeting held on reserve to present and discuss the findings of a 2014 study conducted by the Japanese researchers.
For more information about mercury poisoning in Asubpeechoseewagong First Nation, visit www.freegrassy.net
Photo by Allan Lissner of FreeGrassy.net