Aamjiwnaang: A Culture in Shock with Ron Plain

July 30, 2014
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

This call was not recorded.

Aamjiwnaang First Nation is an Aanishinaabek community located on the border between Ontario, Canada, and Michigan, USA. Surrounded by 63 petrochemical refineries, Aamjiwnaang was called “the most polluted spot in North America” by National Geographic staff. The World Health Organization concluded that Aamjiwnaang has “The most contaminated air-shed” in Canada. Aamjiwnaang residents continue to be exposed to a range of harmful pollutants, including chemicals known to cause respiratory and cardiovascular health effects. The community also has an alarmingly low number of baby boys being born: since the early 1990s, the number of boys born dropped from a normal ratio of roughly half of all births to a skewed ratio of two girls born for every boy. Researchers suspect the change may be caused by exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

On this call hosted by CHE-Alaska, Ron Plain, founder of the Aamjiwnaang Environment Committee, discussed the cultural impacts on citizens living on Aamjiwnaang, the research that opened the community’s eyes, and current strategies for holding the government and industry accountable for the cumulative impacts of the pollution.

Featured Speaker

Ron Plain is the instructor of Trent University’s Indigenous Environment and Health program and founder of the Aamjiwnaang Environment Committee. Ron has led several well documented grassroots actions to bring Aamjiwnaang to the world’s attention. A sought after lecturer, Ron has spoken around the world on the impacts of industry, contamination and encroachment on Indigenous cultures and people.