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A People Left to Die: Mercury Poisoning at Grassy Narrows

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Abstract

A People Left to Die: The mercury poisoning events at Grassy Narrows and how government indifference significantly contributed to the disaster affecting an entire First Nations community. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, many First Nations people located on the Grassy Narrows and Whitedog Reserves in Ontario were poisoned after drinking water or eating fish that contained high levels of Methyl-Mercury. The Federal and provincial governments played a large role in the politics surrounding the disaster, including control of the mercury contamination response early on. Inadequate response to the disaster left First Nations’ people misinformed, unprotected and without economic options to properly carry them through it. The Grassy Narrows and Whitedog peoples’ struggle continued long after the poisoning, and a comprehensive risk-management plan for First Nations’ communities is long overdue.

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