Photo by Linda HeronPhoto Credit

Save Big Falls on the Trout Lake River

The Reasons for Opposing the Construction of the Dam at Big Falls:

1. MNR conducted an initial survey (actually, Hatch did it) of the rivers in Ontario that may have areas where water power could be harnessed and developed. Question: What gave MNR that right when they did no consultation with FN’s of this survey? What gave them the right to put up for auction these sites, three of which are on the Trout Lake River? That is not acceptable and MNR has to be held accountable for deviating from normal FN consultation protocol, even if it was before any such “agreements” were made.

2. The view of our cultural heritage is very narrow, keeping it to physical artifacts such as pottery sherds and arrowheads. This is unacceptable. The stories of our ancestors are all along the river, at each falls and rapids, each lake and bend in the river, every camp site.

3. The name of the project is an appropriation of the name of our home place. It is no more a Trout Lake Hydro project than Niagara Falls is.  When will revenue info be available? We are at a disadvantage if we do not have that information.

4. The Trout Lake people are descendants of signatories to Treaty #3. Namekosipiiw-Anishinaapek, of all people, should be consulted and their consent required in order for the dam to be built. The Trout Lake people should be treated as a community, as much as Lac Seul, Wabauskang and Grassy Narrows are. (MNR personnel have common knowledge that the Trout Lake people should have a reserve, but pretend that we don’t.)

5. The woman’s role and responsibility as water-keepers is a moral and ethical authority that has to be recognized and acknowledged by white people in general, by the state in particular, especially Ontario. As keepers of the water, Anishinaape women are stepping up and advocating for the water. This is huge and important responsibility.

6. The Trout Lake Anishinaape people are continually being told that it is the legal authority of the land that is relevant. We hold that moral responsibilities, as identified in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, hold just as much, if not more, authority in all human story.

7. The trees around the river have already been cut down and taken away. Why can’t they leave the water alone?

8. The personal reasons are varied and many, posts will appear as this work progresses.