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Home: Canadian Construction News: Fox Lake Cree Nation Ends Blockade of 3 Manitoba Hydro Sites

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Fox Lake Cree Nation Ends Blockade of 3 Manitoba Hydro Sites

Written by; Joy Smithers / TCCN Staff Writer
Added on: Sun May 15 2016

  


Last Thursday, May 12, 2016, Fox Lake Cree Nation members found ceremonial land adorned with prayer flags and tobacco ties had been destroyed and several nearby trees were uprooted near the remote First Nations community by Manitoba Hydro construction workers.

The flags and ties had been placed by members of the Cree Nation in November as part of a ground breaking ceremony to honour the land before construction began by Manitoba Hydro on the reserve. Manitoba Hydro participated in the ceremony on the reserve which is located approximately 1,000 km North East of Winnipeg.

In protest of the vandalism, the First Nation members constructed a road blockade to three Manitoba hydro work sites.

Since then, the Northern Manitoba Fox Lake Cree First Nation band has come to an agreement with Manitoba Hydro and have dismantled the road blockades to the 3 Manitoba Hydro work sites.

Walter Spence, the chief of Fox Lake Cree Nation stated, "I feel very optimistic, we're both renewing our commitment to work together."

Spence revealed a new agreement was reached Saturday night May 13th, 2016, between Manitoba Hydro and Fox Lake Cree Nation.

Members of Fox Lake Cree Nation had used heavy equipment to shut down a junction on Highway 290 at approximately 6 am on Thursday morning.

The junction leads to 3 Manitoba hydro sites, including the Limestone generating station, the Keewatinohk access gate and construction camp, and the Henday converter station.

The blockade stopped access in and out of the sites, however, work inside the sites continued with reportedly over 280 hydro workers stuck inside the work camps.

Spence stated that the blockade was removed Saturday night after a meeting with Manitoba Hydro CEO Kelvin Shepherd.

"After three days of negotiating with Manitoba Hydro's CEO we came to an agreement and the overall outcome is a renewed commitment to work closely together and rebuild our relationship.", he said.

Spence said the signed agreement includes better communication and more meetings with Manitoba Hydro regarding on going projects in the community.

"It's really to work more closely with us on some of the terms and conditions of past agreements." he said.

Spence added hydro officials have apologized and are still investigating the incident.

Manitoba Hydro CEO Kelvin Shepherd stated, "Manitoba Hydro shares the concern of Fox Lake Cree Nation over the disrespectful damage to a sacred site. After the meeting with the chief, elders and community members over the last two days, we have worked with them to address their concerns and find ways to move forward, heal and find solutions."

Shepherd added that the Crown corporation takes these matters seriously and is in the process of mounting its own investigation into how the ceremonial site was damaged.

  

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