Environment featured Media release Racism

News release: Labrador Land Protectors and Grand Riverkeeper Labrador’s call to nonviolent direct action regarding Muskrat Falls for May 7/18

We call all supporters to a national day of nonviolent direct action organized by the Ontario-Muskrat Solidarity Coalition on Parliament Hill in Ottawa (traditional, unceded Algonquin territory), on May 7th, 2018. Help us stop an act of cultural genocide and prevent a potentially catastrophic dam break that could drown up to a thousand people downstream from Muskrat Falls in Labrador (traditional, unceded lands of the Innu and Inuit).

Since 2011, Indigenous people and settlers have been victims of an undemocratic process that has allowed the Muskrat Falls mega-dam to be forced on us regardless of our grave concerns about its well-documented lethal effects. This includes methylmercury poisoning of our traditional food web and the daily threat of dam collapse.

Our fears are real; some of us go to sleep at night with life preservers under our beds. We live the despair of knowing our way of life that has existed for generations is being threatened. Justin Trudeau recently apologized for a past act of Labrador cultural genocide, yet his government supports this impending act of cultural genocide with a $9.2 billion federal investment.

Much of the resistance to the Muskrat Falls dam has taken place outside the national spotlight. Dozens of land protectors and riverkeepers in Labrador have been criminalized (and some, including Elders, jailed in maximum security penitentiaries) for peaceful acts of resistance and sacred ceremonies on traditional lands.

All calls for accountability, transparency, and respect have been ignored as this megaproject proceeds full speed ahead, doubling in a cost (now $12.7 billion) that will be borne by our province’s poorest residents and next generations.

All possible political channels have been exhausted, from meetings with bureaucrats and Ministers to years of lobbying, petitioning, demonstrating, and civil disobedience in Labrador. Still the federal and provincial governments refuse to seek and obtain the free, prior and informed consent of all of us affected downstream.

Encouraged by the support of those who have heard our stories, we ask for you to join in the peaceful rally and civil resistance actions on May 7. We ask that as you bring our shared message to the heart of government in Ottawa, you respect our nonviolence basis of unity. This battle for our very lives can no longer be waged alone. Most of us in Labrador cannot go to Ottawa. We need your voices to help expose the major tragedy unfolding that there is still time to stop. Ensure the federal government sees our faces, hears our voices, and acts on our demands.

If you cannot get to Ottawa, please consider organizing a nonviolent direct action event in your community. Link your land and water concerns to ours. Together, we are stronger than the forces of greed and destruction that megaprojects like Muskrat Falls represent. Together, we protect for the next generations. Thanking you in advance.

In Solidarity,

Labrador Land Protectors, Contact: Denise Cole coledenise1975@gmail.com

Grand Riverkeeper Labrador, Contact: Roberta Frampton Benefiel rebnfl@gmail.com

For nonviolence training and more information, contact the Ontario-Muskrat Solidarity Coalition at tasc@web.ca