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Hunger strike brings attention to Grassy Narrows

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Compiled by Shari Narine







A one day hunger strike by Elder Steve Fobister Sr. to bring attention to the historical mercury contamination in his home of Grassy Narrows has received government commitment. Fobister began his hunger strike on July 28 as a means to push the province to acknowledge that Grassy Narrows residents continue to suffer from mercury poisoning 40 years after a Dryden paper mill dumped the toxin into the Wabigoon-English River system. The following day Minister of Aboriginal Affairs David Zimmer stated he was concerned for Fobister’s health and pledged to “personally work to get the approval of the Wabaseemoong First Nation and the federal government to conduct such a review.” Zimmer said all parties to the Mercury Disability Board would have to agree to reforms. Zimmer also said the government would also “explore the options for more on-site treatment (for mercury-related illness) for Grassy Narrows First Nation residents.” Premier Kathleen Wynne said she is committed to dealing with the Grassy Narrows mercury issue.