Sapotaweyak Cree Nation Sets Up Blockades


January 26th, 2015

Members of a western Manitoba aboriginal community are peacefully protesting work on the Bipole III hydroelectric line, a transmission project that requires the construction of a transmission line, two new converter stations and two ground electrodes for those stations.

That construction will involve clear-cutting trees near Sapotaweyak Cree Nation, located north of Swan River in central Manitoba.

On Saturday, members of the community set up two blockades along Highway 10 to prevent access for workers who are scheduled to cut down trees, and they ignited a sacred fire in the clear-cutting path.

A judge denied the First Nation’s request for an injunction to stop construction in an area known to the community as N4, until the province properly consulted with the community in January.

The area includes Sapotaweyak Cree Nation’s ancestral lands and traditional territory, which includes burial and spiritual sites sacred to the community.

Chief Nelson Genaille says RCMP spoke briefly with him and allowed the peaceful protest to continue.

“Our people are now standing up for their rights and interests,” Genaille said.

“I have exhausted the diplomatic and legal routes to voice our concerns against this project. And regrettably, the responsible Manitoba ministers and Manitoba Hydro bigwigs did not take our concerns seriously.”


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