The Fawn is as wide as a football field now and deep, having collected the waters of hundreds of tributaries draining 13,025 square kilometers of land. Our paddles rarely touch bottom anymore and only a few boulders – large erratics left by retreating glaciers – protrude above its surface. This is big water.
Coming around a wide bend we reach what appears from a distance to be a very long lake running perpedicular to the Fawn. As we reach it we see that it is no lake. The current in this large body of water is ever more swift than anything we have experienced so far on our journey. We have reached the confluence with Katajiiwan – the Mighty River, known in English as the Severn. It dwarfs the Fawn whose waters are quickly subsumed into the murky, silt laden flow of the Severn.
At a point protruding into the confluence we find a note and some treats left for us by Chief Donny Morris a week earlier as his canoe party passed this point on their way down the Severn after having navigated the Sachigo River, another major tributary of the Severn, which flows through the Sherman Lake area where Chief Morris was raised.
In March KI successfully evicted gold exploration company Gods Lake Resources whose claims and leases threatened the KI sacred landscape and were directly on top of KI ancestral burials.
Fearing further high profile conflicts and costly buy-outs the government of Ontario withdrew 23,000 square kilometers of KI Homeland from all mining activity – the largest such withdrawal in Ontario history. [link to news article about the withdrawal]
KI succeeded in gaining partial respect for the moratorium on industry they had declared a decade earlier. But half of the KI Water Declaration area remains open to mining exploration – a situation that seems to invite further conflict.
Please write to the Premier to encourage him to fully respect KI's Water Declaration and Indigenous Laws.