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Solidarity with Aamjiwnaang and Ron Plain

Jesse McLaren

March 5, 2013

The Aamjiwnaang First Nation (near Sarnia, 300km south-west of Toronto) has been subjected to the worst of the capitalist and colonial economy, but is also at the heart of resistance.
The 850 members of the community live in one of the most toxic environments in North America, surrounded by Chemical Valley. According to Aamjiwnaang member Ron Plain, “the lands these communities operate upon were stolen from my community and turned into a toxic wasteland without our consent or consultation. Shell’s plant is located directly on my father’s hunting ground and today, instead of feeding my family these lands kill my community. Shell’s plant to expand bitumen refining in an area already devastated by pollution is effectively a death sentence for our culture, lands and people.”
As part of Idle No More and in solidarity with Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spench who was on hunger strike, the Aamjiwnaang First Nation and Mohawks of Tyendiniga launched rail blockades in December and January. The courts responded with injunctions, and APTN National News has revealed that the judge who imposed the injunctions used to work for CN Rail.
The Aamjiwnaang blockade lasted 13 days and even though protesters complied with the injunction and took it down, CN Rail launched court action against Ron Plain, the blockade’s spokesperson.
Last year a Via Rail train crashed in Burlington, killing three workers and injuring 45 passengers. According to Scott Holmes, a former CN engineer, this could have been avoided had CN invested in upgrading part of the track, but he says he was told CN had no money for the upgrade. While CN apparently doesn’t have the resources to guarantee worker and passenger safety, they have all the resources they need to launch legal action against Ron Plain.
This is yet another attack on indigenous sovereignty, an attack on the Idle No More movement which has inspired people from coast to coast, an attack on an activist who has exposed and challenged the oil companies. Next month Ron Plain will be speaking in Toronto as part of local organizing against Line 9. To support his legal defense, go to

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