Search for Resources

The Youth Rising Up Against Canada's Mercury Crisis

Secondary

Description

In the 1960s, a chemical company dumped 10 tonnes of toxic waste in the river system upstream from the Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation community. This unfortunate event has led to the contamination of culturally important fish that the community relies on for food. The fish were contaminated with extremely high levels of mercury, causing decades of severe health problems and eroding their unique way of life. Despite repeated calls for action, subsequent governments have failed to take necessary steps to clean up the river, exposing community members to devastating health impacts for over half a century. These impacts include early death and other severe health issues.

However, the community's young people are raising awareness about this issue, making it impossible for the government to ignore the situation. Darwin and Afeni are from Grassy Narrows, Canada, a First Nations reserve devastated by mercury poisoning. Fifty years on, Darwin, Afeni, and many of the community's youth are fighting for justice.

General Assessment

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This video may be used as a case study in resource management or human-environmental interaction (Geography, Environmental Science); as a case study in social justice or social equity (Social Studies); as part of a study of First Nations issues and government response to those issues (Indigenous Studies, Social Studies). The video could begin a more extensive study focusing on clean water and other challenges faced by First Nations. Students could research the known effects of heavy metals on ecosystems and their effects in people.

Following the viewing and discussion of the video, students may investigate the local situation concerning First Nations and water to determine whether this is an Ontario issue only. Local First Nation Elders and government representatives would be a useful resource in any such investigation.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Issues for Canadians: Governance and Rights
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Indigenous Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Aboriginal Studies 30: Aboriginal World Issues
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 10 -Canada and the World: 1914 to the Present: Historical and contemporary injustices challenge the narrative and identity of Canada as an inclusive, multicultural society
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 11: Human practices affect the sustainability of ecosystems
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Explorations in Social Studies 11: Social justice initiatives can transform individuals and systems
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Justice: Individual worldviews shape and inform our understanding of social justice issues.
        • Social Justice: The causes of social injustice are complex and have lasting impacts on society
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canada in the Contempoary World: Democracy and Governance in Canada
        • Canada in the Contemporary World: Opportunities and Challenges
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Indigenous Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Current Topics in First Nations, Métis and Inuit Studies: Indigenous Peoples of the World
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Citizenship and Sustainability: Area of Inquiry: Social Justice and Human Rights
        • Citizenship and Sustainability:Area of Inquiry: Indigenous Peoples
        • Global Issues
        • Global Issues
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canadian Identities: Social Responsibility
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Civics 10: Human Rights
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Indigenous Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Indigenous Studies 120: Indigenous Advocacy
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 1201: Justice
        • Social Studies 1201: Power, Citizenship, and Change
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 3201: Human-Environment Interaction
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Issues for Canadians: Governance and Rights
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Indigenous Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Mi’Kmaq Studies: Justice
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography of Canada 11: Geography of Risk
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Issues for Canadians: Governance and Rights
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Rights & Responsibilities
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Academic): Liveable Communities
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science (Univ/College Prep.) Human Health and the Environment
        • Environmental Science (Workplace Prep.) Human Health and the Environment
        • Environmental Science (Workplace Prep.) Human Impact on the Environment
      • Indigenous Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Contemporary First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Issues and Perspectives (univ./college prep.) Community Perspectives
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Equity, Diversity, and Social Justice (Workplace Pre.) Equity, Social Justice, and Change
        • Equity, Diversity, and Social Justice (Workplace Prep.) Promoting Equity and Social Justice
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Equity and Social Justice: From Theory to Practice (Univ./College Prep.) Addressing Equity and Social Justice Issues
  • Quebec
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • The Contemporary World: Environment
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Contemporary World: Environment
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Indigenous Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Native Studies 10: Governance: Aboriginal Perspectives
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Indigenous Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Native Studies 20: Social Justice
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studiees 20:World Issues - Environment
        • Social Studies 20: World Issues -Human Rights
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Indigenous Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Native Studies 30: Aboriginal and Treaty Rights
        • Native Studies 30: Governance
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 10 -Canada and the World: 1914 to the Present: Historical and contemporary injustices challenge the narrative and identity of Canada as an inclusive, multicultural society
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 11: Human practices affect the sustainability of ecosystems
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Explorations in Social Studies 11: Social justice initiatives can transform individuals and systems
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Justice: Individual worldviews shape and inform our understanding of social justice issues.
        • Social Justice: Social justice initiatives can transform individuals and systems
        • Social Justice: The causes of social injustice are complex and have lasting impacts on society

Themes Addressed

Human Health & Environment (3)

  • Environmental Contaminants & Health Hazards
  • Environmental Justice
  • Quality of Life

Human Rights (1)

  • Social Justice

Water (3)

  • Water Quality
  • Water Use
  • Watershed Protection