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KI6 and Bob Lovelace are Free!

Gathering of Mother Earth Protectores - Toronto Last week, as hundreds of supporters gathered to demand their release, Bob Lovelace and the KI6 won a ground breaking legal appeal to secure their unconditional release. The community leaders had served 4 months of a 6 month jail sentence for saying 'no' to mining exploration on their traditional territories. Please read below for some important words from Robert Shimek, Mining Projects Coordinator for the Indigenous Environmental Network, and from the recently freed Chief Donny Morris of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI). All, It is indeed encouraging that so much progress has been made in this effort to free our brothers and our sisters, and our communities from the burden of being imprisoned for standing up for what is right and just. Congratulations to all for the great work and accomplishments of this effort. While doing so, we all should recognize that we should not become complacent in these victories as they are accomplished. It should be remembered that the recent victory is a part of a much larger resistance to colonialism by Indigenous Peoples that has been occurring in North America for hundreds of years. It should be remembered that much of this multi-generational struggle is based in the treaties signed between nations, or in some cases, protecting a land base because of the lack of treaties. It is the rights of the Tribes or First Nations to protect our land, whether we are in the U.S. or Canada, that all citizens should be paying attention to. It is those rights, whether they be codified in treaty, or not, that may very well be the last single, large environmental protection tool available to all of us, regardless of who we are or where we live on the face of this Turtle Island. For all freedom loving people, there is much to be celebrated in the recent victories of the KI Six, the Ardoch Algonquins, and their supporters. Let us be hopeful that this is the first in a long string of celebrations that will ultimately lead to true freedom and justice for all those who have engaged this effort. The words of non-native American legal scholar Felix S. Cohen serves as just one of the many measures of the work behind us, as well as the work before us. In 1953, Cohen stated, "Like the miners canary, the Indian marks the shift from fresh air to poison gas in our political atmosphere; and our treatment of Indians, even more that out treatment of other minorities, reflects the rise and fall of our democratic faith." First Nations, tribes, and all people seeking a fair measure of justice, just took a dunking in the poison gas of the political atmosphere that governs who are the haves, the have mores, and the have nots. With many thanks to all who helped, supported, volunteered, sacrificed, walked, organized, and all the other multitude of tasks that it took to achieve this victory, those of us who could not participate owe an immeasurable amount of gratitude and respect for all your great efforts. Today, we are all better off because of your work, and the political atmosphere is air is a slightly less toxic. The challenge before us is now, how do we get to a point where our men and women do not have to go to prison for protecting the land that has been under their care taking for hundreds of generations. The extractive resource corporations and the government regulatory agencies they purchase have not yet changed their predatory practices. There is still much to do. Chi miigwech Robert Shimek Mining Projects Coordinator Indigenous Environmental Network Letter from KI Chief Donny Morris (exerpt) June 3, 2008 Message from Chief Donny Morris: On behalf of the KI Six and our whole community, I want to thank everyone who worked so hard to organize the events held at Queens Park in Toronto May 26-29. I strongly believe that we owe our freedom largely to those events and to the people who made the Rally and Sovereignty Sleep-Over such a great success.

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