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The Methyl-Mercury Misery The role of government in the mercury poisoning disaster that occurred at the Grassy Narrows / Whitedog First Nations' Reserve in Canada

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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 mercury was an industrial by-product from a local paper mill. The Federal and provincial governments played a large role in the politics surrounding the disaster, including control of the mercury contamination response early on. A history of forced relocation due to government decision-making also helped set the stage for limited trust for the government, as well as general discontent with government interactions in the peoples' lives on the reserves. 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. A comprehensive risk-management plan for First Nations' communities is long overdue.
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The Methyl-Mercury Misery
The role of government in the mercury poisoning disaster that occurred at the Grassy
Narrows / Whitedog First Nations’ Reserve in Canada
Myron R. King, Researcher
Environmental Policy Institute
Memorial University of Newfoundland - Grenfell
Campus, Corner Brook, Newfoundland
mking@grenfell.mun.ca
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 mercury was an industrial by-
product from a local paper mill. The Federal and provincial
governments played a large role in the politics surrounding the
disaster, including control of the mercury contamination response
early on. A history of forced relocation due to government decision-
making also helped set the stage for limited trust for the
government, as well as general discontent with government
interactions in the peoples’ lives on the reserves. 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. A comprehensive risk-
management plan for First Nations’ communities is long overdue.
Keywords: Environmental Policy, Environmental Pollution,
Public Policy, Indigenous Rights, Water Pollution Impacts, Methyl
Mercury pollution Introduction
During the 20th century, there was a terrible environmental
disaster that took place on two small First Nations reserves in
Ontario. The mercury poisoning that occurred at the Grassy
Narrows and Whitedog First Nations reserves affected many
lives, yet also had a darker, almost sinister angle of government
neglect, cover-up and subsequent denial. The poisoning
occurred when a local paper mill in Ontario north started
dumping methyl mercury, an industry by-product, into the river
which the mill utilized as its water resource. Approximately 10
metric tonnes of inorganic mercury was dumped into the river
system [9]. The by-product made its way into the local river
ecosystem and then local fish and wildlife that lived in the river
or ate the tainted fish from there. Reserve peoples fished the
river and hunted the land, leading to the poisoning.
It was 48 years ago, in 1962 when the Reid pulp and paper
mill in Dryden, Ontario begin dumping its mercury
contaminated effluent into the Wabigoon-English River
Systems. Day after day, year after year the dumping went on
unopposed, unstudied and unknown to the surrounding
communities, commercial fishers or the tourists that frequented
the rivers. The Reid mill dumped tonnes of mercury into the
water, unknown to many until 1970, when high levels of the
contaminant were found by a student who ran some tests. That
is not the end of the story though, it really is just the beginning.
Over the next 15 years and beyond, the effects and
consequences of that mercury dumping would come full circle
devastating the river wildlife, the environment, the sport
fishing industry, and most notably and most tragically the
Grassy Narrows and Whitedog Reserve peoples.
The government played a large role in the politics
surrounding the disaster, including control of the mercury
contamination response early on. There is also a history of
government intervention in the lives of the reserve peoples
which contribute to the larger picture of this tragedy. During
the 1960s, the Canadian government (via the Department of
Indian Affairs) repeatedly attempted to “modernize” Indian
life, to encourage economic development [13]. These attempts
proved more harmful than helpful to the peoples’ way of life.
This history of forced relocation due to government decision-
making also helped set the stage for limited trust for the
government, as well as general discontent with government
interactions in the peoples’ lives on the reserves. Ultimately,
following the mercury poisoning events, there was no
alternative for government but to advise non-consumption of
locally caught fish because of the high mercury levels in the
fish [14]. Was the information timely enough? What impact did
this have on traditional lives of the First Nations people?
I. THE CULPRIT MERCURY
Mercury becomes a contaminant and poison in the water by
being converted to a dangerous form called methyl mercury.
Micro-organisms (i.e. bacteria) convert the mercury dumped
by the paper plants into the more toxic form methyl mercury
which then makes its way up the food chain from organism to
organism. The mercury will finally make it into humans,
usually by the consumption of the fish from the same waters.
The mercury is able to do this because of bio-accumulation -
the passing on from smaller to larger organisms up the food
chain via normal consumption. Larger organisms tend to eat
several smaller contaminated ones, thereby increasing the
mercury amount at each food chain level. Mercury poisoning
in humans has a name, it is called Minamata Disease. This
name came from another tragic mercury poisoning event that
happened not long before it did in Grassy Narrows. Minamata
was a community in Japan where the consumption of mercury-
contaminated fish by humans occurred in 1956. The event was
studied carefully and eventually documented. Sadly as we will
see, this event does tie in to the events that occurred later in
Grassy Narrows.
Background
For industry, it was not an uncommon practice to be
dumping waste products into rivers. Industry by-products were
often released into local waters unchecked and unmonitored as
a regular practice through the 1930’s and 1940’s. As industry
advanced however, the effects of pollution were being
identified and slowly controls and changes were taking place.
For some people though, these changes occurred very slowly
and industry continued to pollute local rivers for many decades.
Figure 1 Grassy Narrows / Whitedog Reserve Communities are approximately 175 kilometers downstream from the
Reed Paper Mill located at Dryden, Ontario. INSET 1: Satellite Imagery showing the reserve communities. INSET 2:
The location of the reserves in Canada.
Sometimes the polluting even occurred legally due to weak or
absent regulation. When you mix a polluting paper plant with a
local population of people using the same waters, there will
inevitably be a bad event. This is what happen at Grassy
Narrows and it was certainly tragic. There are several key
players in this tragic event of history - some that knew the
problems, some that didn’t. There are some players that could
have done more to avoid it, and some that didn’t listen to the
information when they should have. There are cover-ups, and
there was complacency. Most of all, there was some people
that paid a heavy price.
Back in the 50’s and 60’s, and some say continuing to this
day, First Nations people were a people often looked down
upon by the rest of Canadian society. They were more
geographically isolated and often given less regard within the
Canadian political framework. At the time the government
looked towards assimilation rather than acceptance of First
Nations people. The Grassy Narrows and Whitedog Reserve
communities were not entirely unknown to the world however.
They were registered with government; they were well-known
for expertise as fishing-guides and they played an important
role in northern Ontario society. They were a people of the
land, and they knew the land very well. In 1963 the Grassy
Narrows people had been relocated by the government to a new
land area. This had been under coercion a move forced upon
them by the Department of Indian Affairs. A new school was
built in the new location, along with some new housing meant
to serve the Grassy Narrow’s people. DIAND promised
electricity and financial assistance to those who agreed to
move, while threatening loss of family allowances to resistors
[13]. The relocation did not sit well with Grassy Narrows
people who resisted the move overall. The actions of DIAND
here (and elsewhere during this time) was not only aggressive
but showed the lack of understanding of First Nations culture
and land-ties that the government planners at the time carried.
The negative effects of the relocation would play a part later
for the interactions occurring between the communities and the
government.
II. DISCOVERY AND GOVERNMENT (IN)ACTION
In 1970 when a research student found high levels of toxic
mercury affecting the fish from the Wabigoon-English River
Systems, the government got involved. They stopped the
commercial fishery, they asked the chemical paper plant to
correct its dumping processes and they told some people, rather
tepidly, to stop eating the fish of the rivers. This however was
the limits of their involvement in 1970. The government did
not attempt to study the environmental or human effects of 8
full years of toxic mercury dumping into the water by the mill.
They did not consider the needs of the First Nations
communities who depended on the fishing for food and
employment, and they offered no compensation for any real or
perceived losses [4]. Looking closely, it can be seen this was a
very indifferent and cold approach to the situation. An
approach that appears to be designed by government to ensure
no liability or blame could fall upon them. Most alarmingly,
the action of the government at the time was much more
concerned with industry than with the native peoples or local
businesses affected by the fallout:
A. Disregard to local business
The way the commercial fishing establishments were asked
to continue their business unrealistic. The government issued
requests for the fishing businesses, the tourist camps etc. to just
not eat the fish. They advised such places to just fish for fun,
and the government placed signs around the affected waters
advising that the fish were contaminated. As a result of this, a
number of camps closed their doors, knowing they could not
continue offering a fishing adventure if the tourist could not
even keep one fish or enjoy a meal of his catch. Businesses had
numerous cancellations for fishing trips, affecting core
business income. Some camps attempted to keep going,
struggling with the new reality. Camp owners took down the
signs, and didn’t require their First Nations’ guides to not eat
the fish or to advise the tourist not to eat the contaminated
fish. This inevitably meant some tourists ate contaminated fish,
and as well created a pressure on the guides for these camps.
The guides, who wished to keep their jobs, would feel they had
to eat with the tourists despite knowing the contamination and
they ate the fish trip after trip. The accumulation factors in here
for the guide as a tourist eats one fish, but the guide ended up
eating many.
B. Unreasonable request
The government advised people to stop eating the fish
because they were poisoned. This was all that was provided, a
single line reference to a fish issue, with no background, no
explanation, and certainly no historical perspective of the eight
years of mercury dumping that led to it. The method this was
told to everybody was in English language, both on the signage
and in any correspondence that went to some of the local First
Nations’ population. This population is Ojibwa though, so most
could not read the signs or the correspondence and did not
understand what was going on [3]. The communication from
government to people therefore broke down in very short order.
From the perspective of the First Nations’ people, there were
some very troubling results of such an order if it was
understood. They had fished the waters for centuries, and it
was their main source of food from generation to generation.
How now could someone tell them not to eat it? Why should
they listen to them? They had nothing else to eat anyway.
Many would continue to eat the fish.
C. Complacency and Inadequacy
The government was not fast acting enough for the
communities of Grassy Narrows and Whitedog. When they
found out there was a problem with high levels of mercury in
the water, they didn’t fully stop the polluter. Instead, the mill
was given time to work out a plan to scale-back the dumping
over a few years. This shows there was far more concern for
the plant than the environment or for the people affected. Such
a plan was allowed despite the environmental impact to the
waters and the poisoning of the fish which would unfortunately
continue for some time as the mill slowly phased out toxic
mercury dumping.
III. MIXED VOICES
Over time, the effects of the poisoning of the Grassy
Narrows and Whitedog people became more apparent.
Journalists would visit the reserves and interview those
affected and share with them what was known. Others showed
interest in getting the information out there too, perhaps with a
little bit of personal interest and motivation to do so. One
example is Barney Lam, the owner/operator of one of the
camps that had to close down in 1970 and was claiming 3.7
million dollars in damages:
“The biggest thing is to convince the government and the
people that this is a serious situation, and this is what we are
out to do. We have movies we are showing, we’d like to
convince news media of the seriousness... the main purpose is
to show the residents of the area, the reserves, what can
happen to them. so they stop eating the fish.” [10]
Barney was showing film footage of people from
Minamata, Japan which was a supposedly well-known mercury
poisoning disaster with people showing advanced symptoms of
the poisoning. Journalists were also aware of the Minamata
findings and were sharing and showing them to the First
Nations’ peoples of Grassy Narrows. Minamata Disease
sufferers from Japan with problems like deafness, blindness,
loss of co-ordination, violent convulsions with pain, twisted
limbs and uncontrolled movements, salivation, mental
disturbances, and even death were displayed to the people.
They were then told this is what is happening to you now and
what will continue to happen to you due to the poison in the
waters and the fish.
Such despair for the communities from seeing such tragedy!
It is difficult for a person to see another human in pain and
suffering, and it can be more difficult to see another in pain and
suffering and be told this is what is happening to you; this is
what you can expect in the near future. A Japanese team of
doctors, involved with the Minamata event was consulted
around this time. The events unfolding in Grassy Narrows was
shared with them, and they were quite alarmed and expressed
such publically. One doctor said the level of methyl mercury
contamination in the fish in the Grassy Narrows area is by in
large, much greater than the contamination in Minamata. He
suspected the local people consumed as much or more fish as
the Japanese had. Just 0.3 mg of mercury a day consumed
would be enough to see appearance of symptoms of the chronic
or incomplete type of mercury poisoning, where amounts of
mercury at Grassy Narrows and Whitedog have been building
up for some time. [4] The Japanese doctors also shared such
findings with the government during visits, and over a hundred
Japanese documentations about the Minamata event were
available worldwide as early as 1968 to international
governments and medical science.
IV. FURTHER ANALYSIS
The government was never listening though. Back in 1970
when they first knew about it, it seemed to spiral from there in
a wash of lies and deceit. Perhaps this was in order to avoid
responsibility, or simply in general mal-regard for the First
Nations populations involved. Recent clashing between
national First Nations’ leaders and government leaders had put
a dampening on relations with First Nations' communities.
The government had recently published the Statement of the
Government of Canada on Indian Policy infamously known
as the “1969 White Paper” [5]. This paper was a national
policy proposal made by then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau
and Minister of Indian Affairs Jean Chrétien. The paper
proposed to eliminate Indian status claiming it would bring
equality to Canada. The paper was met with strong opposition
by First Nations groups, who were shocked by such a
proposal. In 1970 just following the Grassy Narrows
discovery, George Kerr, then Ontario’s Minister of the
Environment stated in no uncertain terms:
“The readings in Clay Lake were high, they are uh, about
the highest in the province, one of two readings were just as
high in Lake St. Clare. But certainly, this rumour, or this
statement by anybody that it is higher than the situation in
Japan is of course a damn lie and I don’t mind saying it right
now.” [4]
This was his official public stance despite an internal
government report which was leaked, stating otherwise [4].
The Chief medical consultant to the ministry, perhaps in
interest of his own job and government position would back
that up, somewhat stumbling with his own words while
claiming there was no evidence in Grassy Narrows to link any
symptoms being seen to the cause of mercury poisoning [4].
The government would continue in this way to deny there was
a clear and growing medical problem of mercury poisoning for
the First Nations’ people. This cloak and denial would
continue within the government for some years too. Even with
the evidence brought forward by the Japanese medical team,
there was no softening of the government’s position on the
matter. In 1974, when the Japanese attempted to persuade the
government there was an issue with mercury poisoning still
going on in Grassy Narrows it was vehemently rebuffed:
“There are no real damages to the Indian people in the
Grassy and Whitedog areas. This has been our information,
the federal people have verified this... they are responsible for
the health of Indians on federal Indian reserves. Until some
expert, somebody certainly qualified in the health profession
relates this to the Ontario government, then I have accepted
what has been told us to-date. I don’t think we can rely on
some Japanese troubadours coming through and visiting these
reserves on a one or two day basis, and coming out with those
kind of findings” [10]
Such was the way of the government when questioned
about Grassy Narrows. They did not even want to be shown-
up by another country, nor would they accept foreign intrusion
into our Canadian affairs. Certainly no foreigners could know
the First Nations’ people of this country better than the
government. Surely our own doctors would know if there was
in issue. That was not really the reasoning of course, it was
simply politics. Canada and equally-so Ontario, was not going
to be trumped by Japan or Japanese expertise. Recently a book
published about the mercury poisoning in both Minamata and
Grassy Narrows reported that even the Prime Minister at the
time, Pierre Trudeau was aware of the problem and also acted
in a way to cover it up [7].
V. DISCUSSION
It took government and industry many years to start
admitting there was a problem, a big problem going on in the
Wabigoon-English River Systems. By the late 70’s many
people had been exposed to the mercury poisoning. It took
government and industry several more years to admit there
was severe human mercury poisoning to the First Nations’
people of the area. In 1985 a compensation agreement was
reached with the majority population of the affected. Up into
the late 80’s, there were still First Nations’ people living in the
area who had not learned they had been poisoned by a water
polluting industry source.
We must think carefully about the many First Nations’
people who were hurt. What about the people of Grassy
Narrows? How did they cope, what did they do through these
years? They did not do very well, of course. In the beginning,
before the forced relocation and before the mercury poisoning,
they had pride. They fished and hunted like their ancestors
before them. They taught their kids the way of life and about
how the waters and lands provided food and shelter. They
grew like any normal family and community and were a
normal society. There were parallel problems to deal with,
such as feeling insecure. They had only a few years to try and
understand the new lands they had been moved to, before the
mercury poisoning struck. For a First Nations community who
highly value their way of life in terms of historical land use
and natural resource, it was difficult to adjust to a new area.
The land plays such a huge role that such a move like that
done in 1963 in Grassy Narrows created a basis for the
subsequent mercury disaster to be even worse. The mercury
disaster hit during a terrible time for Grassy Narrows society,
who were still reeling from the government-forced relocation
[13] Add to that the reliance on the fishing for food and
employment, and the mercury poisoning event truly becomes
an over-whelming disaster for those people. Unemployment
reached 90%; the suicide rate was high as was drug addiction
(Kent & Morrison, 1983). Violence in the community and
within families grew too, all this would pile up against the
First Nations’ people, and it took a heavy toll on their lives.
No food, no work and no hope for the future quickly led to
despair and apathy for them. They were a community that was
destroyed, and went through social disintegration. They were
mad at the government who showed more interest in industry
during the poisoning then it showed in them, and this led to
deep mistrust of government representation, even long after
the poisoning years. There was a lot of irrational behavior and
trouble in the community, and such is easily linked to
frustration and depression brought on by total community
economic and social break-down. One community member, a
fishing guide and father of a mercury poisoning affected child,
when asked if he believed people cared about what was
happening or if the government cared responded “They don’t
even think we exist... the poor kids in the future are gonna be
having the same kinda problems. You can’t give a kid a new
life no matter how much money you stack up” [3]. Feelings of
hurt and abandonment were common for many of the First
Nations’ people of Grassy Narrows.
VI. CONCLUSION
Some people may say that the big failure in this story is the
lack of internal community resource management. It is easy to
look back centuries however and realize that native peoples
were already good at protecting resources, as well as using
them responsibly and treating them with respect. It was in
their nature. Charles Harper writes that for community
resource management to be successful we need, amongst other
conditions, to have “higher level governments recognize local
control and help enforce rules”, and “changes in resources be
adequately monitored” [6]. Sadly, for the Wabigoon-English
River Systems this wasn’t the case, and nor did it stand a
chance of being the case with such disconnection implicit in
the relationships between government, industry and the local
populations of tourist businesses and First Nations’ people.
The methyl mercury poisoning at the reserve is an
environmental disaster that affected many First Nations’
people. These people by any measure received different
treatment than non-First Nations people might have received if
they were in the same situation in a well-recognized Canadian
city neighborhood This involved politics at the highest levels
of government because First Nations people have struggled
many years for their identity in Canada and has often clashed
with the provincial and federal governments directly. This
politically-based conflict, present during the mercury
poisoning events played a direct role in the inattentive position
casually exercised by the governments then in power. The
mercury poisoning predominantly occurred during the 1960s
and 1970s for Grassy Narrows, Whitedog and other reserves
within Canada’s borders, yet ongoing issues with health and
socio-economic impacts for many reserves continue. A quarter
century later, Chan & Receveur [1] have unequivocally stated
“A comprehensive risk management program involving health
professionals, community representatives, government
regulators and other stakeholders is urgently needed.” (p.2).
So far however this recommendation has yet to be turned into
a reality.
REFERENCES
[1] Chan, Hing Man & Receveur, Olivier. 2000. Mercury in the traditional
diet of indigenous peoples in Canada. Environmental Pollution 110(1) 1-
2
[2] Depoe, Mary.(Host), & Fulton, David.(Reporter). (1976, January 14).
This Land: Lessons in genocide. [Video file]. Retrieved from the CBC
Digital Archives website
[3] Finlay, Mary-Lou.[Host], & Troyer, Warner. [Reporter], 1976, March
23). Take 30: Fishing for fun and death. [Video file]. Retrieved from the
CBC Digital Archives website
[4] Frum, Barbara. [Host], & Maitland, Alan.[Host], (1974, November 6).
As It Happens: A Clear and Present Danger. [Audio file]. Retrieved
from the CBC Digital Archives website
[5] Government of Canada (1969), Statement of the Government of Canada
on Indian Policy
[6] Harper, Charles L. (2008 Environment and society: human perspectives
on environmental issues. (4th Ed) New Jersey. Pearson Prentice Hall
[7] Intercontinental Cry. (2009, October 12). Former Canadian prime
minister suppressed mercury studies. Retrieved from the
intercontinentalcry.org website
[8] Kent, Peter.(Host), & Morrison, Keith. (Reporter). (1983, March 15).
The Journal: Community in crisis. [Video file]. Retrieved from the CBC
Digital Archives website
[9] Kinghorn, April & Solomon, Patricia & Chan, Hing Man. 2007.
Temporal and spatial trends of mercury in fish collected in the English -
Wabigoon River System in Ontario, Canada. Science of the Total
Environment 372(1) 615-623
[10] Maitland, Alan (Host), & Clark, Bernard.(Reporter). (1975, August 20).
As It Happens: Are Indians Slowly Dying? [Audio file]. Retrieved from
the CBC Digital Archives website
[11] Sigurjonsson, Kay. [Host], & Rodgers, Bob.[Reporter], 1970, November
1). Weekend: The water’s no good. [Video file]. Retrieved from the
CBC Digital Archives website
[12] Troyer, Warner.(Reporter). (1975, September 23). The Fifth Estate:
Grassy Narrows Disaster. [Video file]. Retrieved from the CBC Digital
Archives website
[13] Vecsey, Christopher. 1987. Grassy Narrows Reserve: Mercury Pollution,
Social Disruption, and Natural Resources: A Question of Autonomy.
American Indian Quarterly 11(4) 287-314
[14] Wheatley, Brian & Wheatley, Margaret A. 2000. Methylmercury and the
health of indigenous peoples: a risk management challenge for physical
and social sciences and for public health policy. Science of the Total
Environment 259(1-3) 23-29
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Book
The sixth edition of Environment and Society continues to connect issues about human societies, ecological systems, and environments with data and perspectives from different fields. The text looks at the environment from a primarily sociological viewpoint and is designed for courses in Environmental Sociology and Environmental Issues in departments of Sociology, Environmental Studies, Anthropology, Political Science, and Human Geography. Clearly defined terms and theories help quickly acquaint students from various backgrounds with the material. Every chapter of the sixth edition has been significantly revised with new research, data, concepts, and ideas. Also new to this edition, the end of each chapter features review questions, as well as additional examples and conceptual questions that help make macro-micro links between large-scale issues and lived experiences.
Article
Traditional food of indigenous people in Canada, particularly fish and marine mammal meat, has mercury (Hg) concentrations exceeding the Canadian consumption guideline level of 0.5 μg/g. Health effects of Hg in traditional food are, therefore, a concern. We conducted contaminant exposure assessments in 28 indigenous communities in Canada. Hg exposure was greatest among communities with high use of marine mammals as food. Exposure among other communities was variable. Recent adoption of a lower intake guideline for women of reproductive age and by Health Canada may decrease the use of traditional food, and could result in other health problems, such as increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
This Land: Lessons in genocide
  • Mary Depoe
  • David Fulton
Depoe, Mary.(Host), & Fulton, David.(Reporter). (1976, January 14). This Land: Lessons in genocide. [Video file]. Retrieved from the CBC Digital Archives website
Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian Policy
  • Canada Government Of
Government of Canada (1969), Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian Policy
Former Canadian prime minister suppressed mercury studies. Retrieved from the intercontinentalcry
  • Intercontinental Cry
Intercontinental Cry. (2009, October 12). Former Canadian prime minister suppressed mercury studies. Retrieved from the intercontinentalcry.org website
The Journal: Community in crisis
  • Peter Kent
  • Keith Morrison
Kent, Peter.(Host), & Morrison, Keith. (Reporter). (1983, March 15). The Journal: Community in crisis. [Video file]. Retrieved from the CBC Digital Archives website
As It Happens: Are Indians Slowly Dying?
  • Alan Maitland
  • Bernard Clark
Maitland, Alan (Host), & Clark, Bernard.(Reporter). (1975, August 20). As It Happens: Are Indians Slowly Dying? [Audio file]. Retrieved from the CBC Digital Archives website
The Fifth Estate: Grassy Narrows Disaster
  • Warner Troyer
Troyer, Warner.(Reporter). (1975, September 23). The Fifth Estate: Grassy Narrows Disaster. [Video file]. Retrieved from the CBC Digital Archives website