Grassy Narrows – Will Ontario answer the call for justice?


By Craig Benjamin

“Clean the English-Wabigoon River System. Water is sacred.” Judy da Silva, Grassy Narrows First Nation

It was one of the worst environmental disasters in Canadian history. And the people of Grassy Narrows continue to suffer the terrible consequences. Action to clean up the river and protect the health of the people of Grassy Narrow is long overdue.
In the 1960s, a Canadian pulp mill was allowed to release 9 metric tonnes of mercury into the English and Wabigoon river system in northwestern Ontario. Although a half century has passed, that river system – the lifeblood of the Anishnabe people of Grassy Narrows – is still poisoned. This has compromised of health of generations. And it has robbed the people of Grassy Narrows of opportunities to practice traditions and livelihoods protected by Treaty and international law.
Community members are coming to Toronto to deliver a message to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne: it’s time to clean up the river. Amnesty International is proud to support the following events:
Tues. May 31, 6:30 p.m. 
Public speaking Event
Featuring Grassy Narrows youth singers, Elders, leaders.
With Avi Lewis
245 Church Street, Ryerson Engineering Building (ENG 103)
Near Dundas subway station
Thursday, June, 12pm, 12pm 
Gathering and walk – #RiverRun2016: Healthy River, Healthy People
Queen’s Park
Join us for a massive arts-based action to ensure real answers from the provincial government.


  • Join on facebook
  • Click here for shareable images – will be updated often. Keep checking back!


  1. Watch these videos to learn more about the issues: a) River Run 2010, b) CBC The National, c) Grassy Narrows Dummers
  2. Read news articles about the previous River Runs: a) 2014, b) 2012, c) 2010
  3. More
  1. Sign this online petition to the Government of Ontario

Craig Benjamin is the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples Campaigner at Amnesty International Canada. Follow him on Twitter @Craig_Benjamin