I learned about a community-minded, influential Canadian academic and passionate activist named Nettie Wiebe from an inspiring story about her told in graphic novel style by Jonathan Dyck and Josiah Neufeld in the most recent issue of Broadview Magazine.
Nettie a university philosophy student was spending the summer at home on her parent’s farm in Warman Saskatchewan in 1976 when she discovered that not only her family but others in the area were being approached by a provincial crown corporation to sell their farms to Eldorado Nuclear so they could build a uranium refinery in the area.
Nettie researched and discovered that uranium could be used to build nuclear weapons. Nettie was a Mennonite who believed in pacifism and so the thought of selling land to a company that might make weapons was unsettling to her and to the many Mennonite farmers in the area being approached to sell their land.
Nettie and other concerned people in the Warman area formed a citizens’ committee that worked tirelessly for three years to learn about the environmental and health risks of uranium.
The group, which Nettie helped to lead, shared their findings and expressed their concerns as they met with Eldorado Nuclear representatives.
Thanks to their hard work in raising the alarm about Eldorado when three weeks of public hearings on the decision to build the uranium plant were held in January of 1980 nearly 350 local farmers, pastors, Indigenous leaders, peace activists, business people, politicians and homemakers, expressed their misgivings about having a uranium plant in their community.
The dedicated efforts of Nettie’s citizens’ group finally led Eldorado Nuclear to abandon the idea of building a uranium refinery in Saskatchewan.
Nettie went on to serve as the President of the National Farmers Union- the first woman to lead a national farm organization in Canada.
She is a professor emeritus at St. Andrews College at the University of Saskatchewan.
Nettie ran for the leadership of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party
She currently serves on an independent panel of experts shaping debates on how to transition to sustainable food systems around the world.
She and her partner own a farm in rural Saskatchewan where they raise cattle, organic grains and pulse crops.
Nettie Wiebe is a Canadian woman who has made a difference. She’s an inspiration!
Cora Hind – The Wheat Oracle Who Wore Pants
2 responses to “Nettie Wiebe- A Canadian Woman of Influence”
Reblogged this on Mitchell Toews and commented:
A great article from a friend’s blog.
A woman who made a difference.