Breaking: Protests Escalate as Flooding at Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Project Imminent
"Nalcor and our own provincial government are ignoring our needs and refusing to protect us," Gauthier, who has been on a hunger strike since Oct. 13, said.
Here in the US we have the Native Americans, led by the Standing Rock Sioux, aka the water protectors, taking action against the Dakota Access Pipeline. In Labrador, Canada, the Innu and Inuit peoples are taking action against the Muskrat Falls project, part of the $8.6 billion Lower Churchill hydroelectric project, which will flood the Lake Melville river valley. The area has cultural and spiritual significance for the Innu and Inuit peoples.
Opposition to this project has been long-standing. Ossie Michelin, a freelance journalist living in Labrador, has been documenting the fight against the dam. He shared how the hydroelectric project “will cut through the unceded territory of the NunatuKavut Inuit, the only group of Inuit in Canada with an outstanding land claim,” and “destroy hundreds of kilometers of forest and contaminate fish and seal stocks with methylmercury.”
Roberta Benefiel of Grand Riverkeeper in Labrador, shared that, “There are many other issues with this project that Grand Riverkeeper Labrador has been vocal about over the years. Right now we are standing with the entire community on the methylmercury issue because that is the issue that has galvanized all of us, aboriginal and non-aboriginal alike. They absolutely must clear the Reservoir of soil, vegetation and trees before they begin to fill it. Nothing short of the full clearing will satisfy us.”