ONKWEHÓN:WE / ORIGINAL PEOPLES – WEEK IN REVIEW (Sep 4-10, 2013)
by Steve da Silva – Produced for Two Row Times / Reproduced with permission by BASICSnews.ca
Highway #17 Protest Over Nuclear Waste and Other Concerns by Serpent River First Nation
This past Monday, Sep. 9, the Chi Genebek Ziibing Anishinabek of the Serpent River First Nation marked the anniversary of the Robinson-Huron Treaty by staging a traffic slowdown on Highway 17. The protest highlighted the Canadian government’s role in not honouring the terms of the treaty.
The Robinson-Huron Treaty was signed along with the Robinson-Superior Treaty in 1850 – pre-Confederation treaties that became the basis for the numbered treaties that opened up the colonization of northwestern “North America”. According to the terms of the treaties, harvesting rights were to be recognized , access to all treaty lands guaranteed, and monetary annuities indexed to the level of extraction and use by settlers. Instead, these treaties paved the way for settlement and colonization, continuously displacing and marginalizing the Ojibwa people.
Among the concerns of the Ojibway, Odawa, and Pottawatomi community include the plans of business interests in the region to bury nuclear waste at specific sites in the region, as well as cottage developments, outstanding land claims and other mining projects.
In a press release, Chief Isadore Day stated that “We simply cannot allow unjust and neglect of the treaty to continue, further we cannot remain silent while the next generation watches trucks drive by carrying resources that were to be shared while we have no access or while the lands being developed or stripped are damaged beyond reason… We must correct the collective path of treaty, or there ceases to be legitimacy of what is referred to as this country called Canada.”
Toxic oil spill in Sept-Îles Threatens Marinelife and the St. Lawrence River
In the night of August 31, 450,000 liters of oil were spilled in the Sept-Îles Bay. While the Quebec government was still dealing with the fallout of July’s derailing and explosion of a train carrying oil into Lac Megantic, the most recent oil spill on the St. Lawrence River received far less attention.
As of Sunday, the Environment Department in Quebec reports that at least 5000 liters has escaped the retention basis, giving rise to concern for aquatic life in the bay, salt marches, and local birds. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has banned all fishing in the region.
The spilled hydrocarbons are extremely toxic and carcinogenic. The shipping company responsible for the spill is Cliff Natural Resources.
In addition to the local population of 25,000 in the city of Sept-Îles, in the region whose lands are ancestral to the Innu there currently reside the two Innu communities that make up the Uashat-Maliotenam reserve.
30 Stó:lō take over Seabird Island band office alleging “nepotism” and “corruption”
In a statement issued Sunday by an Idle No More, the group calling itself Committee for the Betterment of Seabird Island said, “We are exasperated of the housing, environmental, health, economic, business, education, underemployment, nepotism issues that keep us oppressed, manipulated and shoved into a corner with no consideration of our human needs or rights.”
The Stó:lō community lies in the Fraser River on the island known as Sq’éwqel in the Stó:lō language.
Okimawin and Environmentalists Calling for Delay of Keeyask Hydroelectric Project in Manitoba
A news conference scheduled for Tuesday, Sep. 10 by the Okimawin (Cree) community of Pimicikamak First Nation and the Ojibway and Cree community of Peguis First Nation, along with the Interfaith Task Force on Hydro Development and Manitoba Wildlands, was expected to demand Manitoba to delay public hearings on a new hydroelectric generating station on the lower Nelson River.
The 695 megawatt hydroelectric project of Manitoba Hydro, which would flood at least 45 square kilometers of land, expects the project to be fully operational by 2021.
Hydroelectric projects have already transformed the Nelson River from the flowing “once-pristine water is now silty and not to be trusted for drinking,” and trees continuously fall into the river caused by erosion. According to an article in Briarpatch Magazine called “Flooded and forgotten” on hydroelectric in northern Manitoba, “Around much of northern Manitoba, “hydro” is a dirty word, and for good reason. These projects have reconfigured the landscape of the entire region, drying whole rivers and engorging lakes. Mercury has likely been released into the groundwater, and wildlife habitat has been destroyed.”
In the 1970s, opposition to hydro development led to the creation of the Northern Flood Agreement (NFA) between Manitoba Hyrdo and five Okimawin communities; but the provincial government has never honoured the commitment of “alleviation of mass poverty and unemployment” that was promised in exchange for the destruction of whole communities, which ceased to exist in the wake of NFA.
Keeyask is only one of five coming projects by Manitoba Hydro: Wuskwatim on the Burntwood River is expected later this year; to be followed by Keeyask and another Nelson River project, Conawapa. Two other dams, Notigi and Gillam Island, are Manitoba Hydro’s next targets, the power of which will be exported to the United States.
The Manitoba Métis Federation was also expected to make an announcement Wednesday in opposition to Keeyask.