Owl added it’s not only First Nations people who are concerned; many non-natives who have camps adjacent to reforested areas, or who hunt and fish on Crown land, have also expressed alarm at the spraying and reached out to his group in solidarity with their cause.
“We also have support from five municipalities along the North Shore,” he said. “Massey gets its drinking water from the river, and they’re spraying farther north, so that’s a concern for them. But the province won’t listen to them either.”
The elder said a meeting of First Nations leaders was held recently in Cutler, on the North Shore west of Massey, and his group received the backing of the Union of Ontario Indians and Assembly of First Nations to be the lead on the aerial spraying cause.
If spraying goes ahead in the meantime, the Ojibwe elder said his people have information on which blocks are identified for herbicide treatment, and will make sure there’s a human presence there to disrupt the undertaking.
Indigenous peoples in what is now Canada collectively used over a thousand different plants for food, medicine, materials, and in cultural rituals and mythology. Many of these species, ranging from algae to conifers and flowering plants, remain important in today’s indigenous communities. This knowledge of plants and their uses has allowed Aboriginal peoples to thrive in Canada’s diverse environments. Many traditional uses of plants have evolved to be used in modern life by indigenous and non-indigenous peoples alike.