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Q&A with Grassy Narrows youth, Iruwa Da Silva

On why she journeyed 1700 km from home to Toronto

by David Gray-Donald

Iruwa Da Silva. Photo: Taina Da Silva
Iruwa Da Silva. Photo: Taina Da Silva

Around 40 community members from Grassy Narrows First Nation are in Toronto to demand their waterways be cleaned of mercury, and clear-cutting on their lands stopped.

The Toronto Media Coop was able to catch up with one youth, Iruwa Da Silva, to hear what she had to say about the situation and the trip.

Why are you coming to Toronto for the River Run?

Because I'm worried about my land and I think that things need to change before it gets worse.
What are your thoughts about clearcutting and mercury and the role of youth? 
If you take from the land in a cruel way, it's painful for the animals and the people. Because we are attached to the land in a way that is meaningful to us. And we want you to understand that.
The mercury is harmful to all our people. And all we ask is that you clean our river and treat the water with kindness so people can live in peace.
What's the role of language in Grassy Narrows' struggle? 
Language is very important. I'm really proud of my language, grateful that my mother was able to teach me. And I'm still learning every day, but that's okay with me. I love learning my language. It's the most important thing to be because it reminds me of my family and future generations. And one day I hope that language can be passed on for as long as it can.
For more information about Grassy Narrows, visit

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David Gray-Donald (David Gray-Donald)
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