FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 17, 2008
CONTACT: Rainforest Action Network
Sam Haswell, Communications Director
Activists With Rainforest Action Network Block Entry to Weyerhaeuser Shareholder Meeting
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – April 17 – Several activists with Rainforest Action Network (RAN) were arrested today after chaining themselves to the main entrance to Weyerhaeuser Corp.’s annual shareholder meeting to protest the company’s contract to buy wood logged without consent from the territory of a Canadian First Nation.
The activists were demanding that Weyerhaeuser stop buying wood clear-cut from the northwestern Ontario traditional territory of the Grassy Narrows First Nation, which has declared a moratorium on all industrial activities on its land. Last week, RAN issued a letter to Weyerhaeuser CEO Steve Rogel demanding that the company follow the lead of its competitor Boise Inc., which in February announced that it would suspend its contract for wood obtained from the conflict region unless community consent can be established. Several proxies and shareholders inside the meeting are also raising the issue.
Last November, the province of Ontario appointed former Canadian Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci to negotiate a solution to the First Nation’s predicament. The Grassy Narrows community first filed suit to stop logging on their territory in 2000, and began an ongoing peaceful blockade of logging roads in 2002. Grassy Narrows community members allege that clear-cut logging in the region has intensified since negotiations with the province began.
“Both Boise and the Canadian parliament recognize that logging in the face of unanimous community opposition is wrong,” said Brant Olson, director of RAN’s Old Growth Campaign. “Steve Rogel has not only failed to acknowledge the human and environmental toll of his company’s presence in Grassy Narrows, he’s now profiting from ramped up logging there – likely because he knows that the era of nonconsensual clear-cut logging on Indigenous lands in Canada is coming to an end.”
The Canadian constitution gives First Nations the right to protect their territories for traditional activities such as hunting, trapping and fishing. The Canadian parliament voted last week to endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which prohibits industrial activity on Indigenous lands without the native communities’ free, prior and informed consent.
RAN has worked with the Grassy Narrows First Nation since 2004, mounting markets pressure against Boise and Weyerhaeuser and demanding that the companies respect Grassy Narrows’ land rights.