- The Honourable Jim BradleyMinister of the Environment
Let's Save Big Falls Petition
In the traditional territory of the NamekosipiiwAnishinaape people, we are struggling to defend our historic migratory canoe routes. Each year, our small community follows the water trails of our ancestors up and down the Trout Lake River. Our women, especially the young women, will share their tremendous knowledge and teachings about water as they undertake their work to save Big Falls. (Kaaren Dannenmann)
In 2005, the Ministry of Natural Resources, without consulting First Nations or any other people, contracted Hatch Energy to conduct a survey of Ontario rivers that would be suitable for hydroelectric development. When the survey was concluded, information was posted publicly and bids were solicited for hydro development, again, with no consultation with First Natins or any other people.
The Trout Lake River, with no consultation with the people whose traditional land this is, was one of the rivers selected for hydro development -- three sites on the river were identified. Big Falls was the most convenient site because it is road and power line accessible. On June 13, 2007, MNR announced that is approved, without consulting the NamekosipiiwAnishinaapek, Horizon Hydro Inc.'s proposal to develop a 3.2-MW hydropower project at Big Falls.
The First Nation people of Trout Lake, the NamekosipiiwAnishinaapek, have opposed these plans from the first. This river has been their main annual migratory route and Big Falls is of huge cultural significance. Today, it is a center of camping, canoeing, traditional education, feasting, sweat lodge and other ceremonial activities. It is also an important recreational and economic site for other residents of the area.
We, the undersigned, because of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has been the impetus of these plans right from the beginning, want the OMNR to withdraw all approvals to the Hydro-electric plans at Big Falls. We want the OMNR to protect Big Falls and the whole Trout Lake River from any development plans.
- Minister of the Environment
The Honourable Jim Bradley
The NamekosipiiwAnishinaape people are struggling to defend their historic migratory canoe routes along the Trout Lake River in northwestern Ontario. Each year, members of that small community follow the water trails of their ancestors up and down the river. The women, especially the young women, share their tremendous knowledge and teachings about water as they undertake their work to save Big Falls from the plans to build a dam there. For the First Nation people of Trout Lake, the NamekosipiiwAnishinaapek, this river has historically been the main annual migratory route. This is very important. Big Falls is of huge cultural significance. Today, it is a center of camping, canoeing, traditional education, feasting, sweat lodge and other ceremonial activities. It is also an important recreational and economic site for other residents of the area.
The ministries of Natural Resources and Environment, as well as the proponents of the hydro project, are all well aware that there has not been any meaningful consultation and that it may take up to two years to carry out that work. It has to be done, in conjunction with teaching the ministries and proponents the traditional ecological knowledge of the river. In the meantime, opposition to the project grows as more and more MNR trickery and treachery come to light. It is the intent of the Lac Seul First Nation in partnership with the NamekosipiiwAnishinaape people to declare the Trout Lake River a protected area and create a river park, connecting the Trout Lake Conservation Reserve and the Bruce Lake Conservation Reserve.
We, the undersigned want the OMNR to withdraw all approvals to the Hydro-electric plans at Big Falls. We want the OMNR to protect Big Falls and the whole Trout Lake River from any development plans. We want the MOE to indefinitely withhold all approvals of the project.
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