“The Chemicals Are Within Us”: Toxic Tour with Aamjiwnaang First Nation
TRNN’s Shaghayegh Tajvidi travelled to Aamjiwnaang First Nation on Sept. 5th to capture the largest tour ever of the industrial zone that engulfs the community
LINDSAY GRAY: As a young kid I thought this was what everyone had to face. I thought every child grew up with facilities like this in their community.
My name is Lindsay Gray. I am from Aamjiwnaang, I am [inaud.] and I am Anishinaabe. You really feel like you’re almost [sacrifice].
A lot of these facilities do release harmful chemicals like benzene, toluene. We have health problems here in Aamjiwnaang, and it’s not because our people are unhealthy. It’s because these refineries are so close.
VOICEOVER: Sarnia Lambton Ontario, Canada is the place for energy. We have a long history of energy production, the longest in North America. We are known worldwide as an industrial hotbed, promoting safe, economical, and sustainable practices in the energy and process industries.
SPEAKER: My grandfather died of leukemia. So it’s really sad that we’re getting more cancers.
GRAY: Today was the toxic tour. We have one almost every year now, where we bring people from out of town to Aamjiwnaang to do a walkthrough, and we give information and we give stories. This was one of the largest ones we’ve done.
SPEAKER: No more chemicals in the valley! [Audience repeats] Clean water, clean air, healthy families! [Audience repeats]
GRAY: Every day it stinks. Every day we can hear them. We’re not allowed to touch the water in our community because of how badly they’ve impacted us.
There’s a birth ratio here where it’s two girls for every boy. The chemicals are now within us, that we’re finding that they’re being passed down generation to generation.
And it’s really important that the community of Aamjiwnaang gets to tell their story of living on the front line, because we’re not the only community, or indigenous community, that has to face these issues or these companies.
SPEAKER: And do you understand where you stand? This is stolen land.
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