Register Sunday | December 8 | 2019

Photo Project: Our Grandfathers Were Chiefs

In the early seventies, Canada’s ten-dollar bill was adorned with an image of an artificial rubber factory—a Crown corporation—near Sarnia, Ontario. Dubbed “Chemical Valley,” the region has long been a source of national pride. 

For the roughly 850 residents of the nearby Anishinabek nation of Aamjiwnaang, it feels like more of a David and Goliath situation. They are determined to protect their ancestral lands from over forty petrochemical companies. This effort, ongoing since 1827, now takes modern forms.

That was the year the British seized the area around the Great Lakes. Treaty 29 created four reservations, including Aamjiwnaang. Over the years, through controversial land deals, their territory shrunk from ten thousand to 3,100 acres. The lost land became the property of Shell, Enbridge, Suncor, Imperial Oil and Dow Chemical, among other companies. The list of noxious leaks is long, and so is the list of health ...

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