Blockade remains in place in Kashechewan


Western Shoshone Defense Project
P.O. Box 211308
Crescent Valley, NV 89821
(775) 468-0230
Fax: (775) 468-0237

From: Northwatch <northwatch@onlink.net>
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2005 10:10:29 -0500
Subject: [northwatch_mines] MineNews: Blockade remains in place in Kashechewan

Blockade remains in place in Kashechewan

by Teviah Moro

Local News - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 @ 07:00

Demanding an apology from the OPP, members of the Kashechewan First Nation continued to blockade a winter road passing through their community

Tuesday, throwing a wrench in the plans for De Beers' diamond-mine operations.

Members of the Cree First Nation set up the blockade on the winter road used by De Beers Canada to access a future diamond site 90 km west of Attawapiskat when patrolling OPP officers began informing local users of the the road about Highway Traffic Act regulations.

"Our rights as native people have been violated," said Deputy Chief Rebecca Friday. "We demand an apology from the OPP."

Protesters are denying access to OPP officers and De Beers Canada employees but are allowing all other motorists to drive through the blockade, now entering its second week.

In a news release, Kashechewan community leaders and Stan Louttit, Grand Chief of the Mushkegowuk Council, said members of the First Nation using the road to reach trap lines and wood were told by OPP they could no longer use the winter road.

Though no one has been charged, some people using the road were stopped by officers and told to use another route, the news release says.

The Highway Traffic Act says motorists must have driver's licences, automobile insurance and registration.

As many as 80 per cent of the people living in Kashechewan, located 180 kilometres north of Moosonee, don't have driver's licences.

Sgt. Mario Royer of the OPP's Moosonee detachment said he doesn't know when the blockade will end but that officers are respecting the wishes of the First Nation.

"We're not attending the roadblock location. We turn around prior to the blockade."

Royer said officers continue to patrol the road to maintain public safety.

The long stretches of lonely highway can be dangerous for motorists with temperatures dipping down below -40 C, he said.

The OPP came across motorists in a broken down vehicle during one patrol, Royer said.

"They were many miles away from the nearest community."

Louttit said resolve on the winter-road issue in Kashechewan is strong.

Box 282, North Bay P1B 8H2
tel 705 497 0373 fax 476 7060

Informant: Carrie Dann


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