Six Nations concerns over Edwards landfill
water Story 252

Six Nations concerns over Edwards landfill

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John Ahni Schertow
July 29, 2009
 

As pressure continues to mount against the North Simcoe Landfill, an irresponsible waste dump that “was set up with a 1950s mindset,” a delegation from the Hoskanigetah (Six Nations Men’s Fire of the Grand River) warns about the possible re-opening of another dump site: the Edwards landfill, just outside of Cayuga, Ontario.

According to the CUPE 3903 First Nations Solidarity Working Group, “the Edwards landfill contains highly toxic material from an old resin plant in Cayuga which was dumped there in the 1950s, along with other medical, industrial and commercial waste.”

For several years now, members from the Six Nations community have been working alongside the non-native environmental coalition, HALT (Haldimand Against Land Transfers), to make sure no more waste is added to the dump.

Historically, they’ve taken the same approach that activists and the Council of Canadians are now taking with the North Simcoe Landfill: namely, they’ve filed legal challenges and, whenever trucks arrived to pile on more waste, they physically blocked access to the dump site. Fortunately, the trucks always turned back.

Their reason for opposition is straightforward, and too familiar for indigenous people in Canada: There are a number of serious health concerns among people living in the region of the Edwards landfill and several other nearby dump sites believed to hold waste from the former Resin Plan. Concerns that:

Commonsense (and basic human rights) tells us that each and every report should be investigated by the government and that the sites themselves, particularly the Edwards landfill, should be remediated.

Unfortunately, like the radar contamination sites effecting the Mushkegowuk Cree Nation, it just hasn’t happened.

And now, the Hoskanigetah warn, preparations appear to be underway for the landfill to receive more waste in the near future.

Responding to the possibility, the Hoskanigetah state that:

CUPE 3903 is also putting together a campaign to stop the dump. They state in their own press release: “there is a very distinct possibility that the garbage that the dump is being prepared for would be Toronto garbage that has been accumulating due to be recent labor dispute in Toronto. If this is indeed the case, then there are some real opportunities to make important links around labor struggles, environmental issues and indigenous sovereignty.”

“In order to get to the dump, the garbage would have to cross CUPE picket lines in Toronto, and be driven by scab labor to the dump on Six Nations lands where people from Six Nations are intending to set up their own picket lines to stop the garbage from entering.

We are still considering possible ways in which to organize against the dump, but for now, the CUPE FNSWG is proposing the following plan of action:

PHOTO: HALT

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