The Friends of the Attawapiskat River (FAR) are a coalition of impacted community members and allies focused on stewarding and protecting the Attawapiskat River and its watersheds.
This website is maintained by a group of settler activists based in Toronto who are part of the FAR coalition. It was built in connection and solidarity with all people who live in relation to the Attawapiskat River watershed, and who seek to protect it from the potential harms of mining in Treaty 9 around the area referred to as the Ring of Fire.
In particular, we hope this website will amplify the voices of all those who are advocating for the inherent rights of Indigenous nations in Treaty 9 territory, including their right to decide according to their own laws and community-based protocols, when decisions are being made about their lives and homelands. This site aims to be a community, grassroots-led compilation of materials and advocacy tools. This site explicitly seeks to lay out the ecological and social harms of industrial mining, drawing on local and global data and community experiences.
We believe that Indigenous communities’ rights to basic infrastructure like clean water, housing and health services must be completely independent from their decisions about mineral explorations, assessments or potential developments. A community members’ right to engage and be consulted cannot be meaningfully carried out when ongoing genocide prevent their participation. We see the Attawapiskat River Protectors’ work as acting in alignment with Land Back – an understanding that Indigenous Lands must be returned to Indigenous hands.
The Ontario government has not respected the decision-making protocols and processes of all First Nations in the region. It has not allowed for free, prior, and informed consent. This system of consultation and decision-making is working as it was designed: to divide and conquer, to pit communities against each other, and to exclude anybody whose interests do not fully align with those of corporations. As settlers who live in Toronto, we believe that this is our fight to fight too. Our city is the international hub of mining capital (60% of mining companies trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange, most of whom are headquartered in Canada). We refuse to allow the benefits that we receive as a result of the mining industry to exist at the expense of Indigenous lives and futures.
This website is for all people who care about Indigenous sovereignty, environmental justice, and corporate accountability to learn about the so-called Ring of Fire mining projects and their related infrastructure, as well as what you can do to help in this struggle. It’s also for everybody who loves the Attawapiskat River to have a platform to come together, share your stories and images, and show the world what life is like along this beloved river system.
What can you find on this website?
While the mission of the site will continue to grow and change as the fight carries on, here’s what you can expect for now:
- Regular news round-ups about the Ring of Fire, with brief analysis to help you understand what’s going on.
- Writings from Attawapiskat River protectors, to tell you what’s happening from their perspective.
- Photos and videos to help you get to know the communities, land, and waters of the Attawapiskat River system, so you can see what’s being fought for.