Statement

CREE NATION OF CHISASIBI, EEYOU ISTCHEE – December 5, 2022

Last week, Quebec Premier François Legault delivered his first major speech post-election, which mentioned new dams in Quebec. Concerned by his remarks, Chief Daisy House delivered the following statement:

“Premier Legault’s words last week drew consternation from the Council of the Cree Nation of Chisasibi and many of our community members when he solicited Quebec to ‘seriously envision the construction of new dams’ in his recent speech.

As Chief of Chisasibi – the largest Cree community in Eeyou Istchee and the community most impacted by hydroelectric development in the territory – I simply cannot stay silent.

This was anticipated, as we heard Premier Legault’s promise of additional dams during his election campaign in October. He made that statement during the campaign without consultation with First Nations leaders in Quebec.

Unsurprisingly, his remarks in this speech convey the same message, underscoring his intent to build new dams. It’s clear the impacts on Indigenous land, people, and Rights continue to be an afterthought.

As a Chief with a passion for education, I urge First Nations, Inuit, and non- Indigenous people in Quebec to learn from Chisasibi’s history. I am aware some people consider hydroelectric dams to be ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’, but they are far from it. There are endless effects from our dammed river that loom over us every single day. In Chisasibi, we have eight of the 11 dams in Eeyou Istchee. And they all have an impact on us and the flow of our river.

We’ve lived with Hydro-Québec dams and their impacts for over 50 years. Our Elders, land users and tallymen are the main experts we hear from – almost daily – emphasizing that the dams in our territory continue to flood our traplines, erode our riverbanks, affect our water and natural ecosystem, kill our wildlife, and impact our daily lives and cultural practices.

Premier Legault must understand that his consultations on this question are nation- to-nation. He cannot make commitments about the future of dams without talking to the people who live in the areas where those dams would be built.

If Premier Legault cares at all about reconciliation and understands territorial sovereignty, he must respect our ability to make decisions about our territory, or any other Indigenous territory, which is the entirety of the province of Québec.”

For more information:

Karen Joyner
Executive Assistant / Liaison

W: (819) 855-2878 x335
C: (873) 365-0384

KarenJoyner@chisasibi.ca

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