Displaced Residents of South Indian Lake

March 23, 2005 15:30 ET

Band Status Fast Tracked - Legal Action Threatened

Attention: Environment Editor, Energy Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(CCNMatthews - March 23, 2005) - Many residents of South Indian Lake, Manitoba are questioning the timing, motives and ethics of the Governments of Canada and Manitoba to fast track their reserve status for April 1, 2005. They are currently members of Nelson House First Nation (NCN), Metis and non-status aboriginal.

Letters describing lack of: fairness, open and meaningful consultation plus pressure tactics
have been written to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Minister Andy Scott and Manitoba Aboriginal Affairs Minister Oscar Lathlin

In a March 15, 2005 letter to Andy Scott Angus Dysart, President of the Association for the Displaced Residents of South Indian Lake (DRSIL), stated many people are "distressed by the pressure tactics being used" and he "finds it disturbing that people are being offered incentives" to sign up to join the new O-Pipon-Na-Piwin (OPCN) band. The sudden rush to create a reserve at South Indian Lake "is to block NCN members from South Indian Lake from voting on the Wuskwatim Hydro Project Referendum,".stated Dysart.

In the 2001 referendum on the Wuskwatim Agreement in Principle (AIP) between NCN and Manitoba Hydro over 80% of South Indian Lake NCN members voted against the project. Their 2005 referendum votes could kill the project.. Manitoba and Manitoba Hydro have publicly stated the Wuskwatim Dam would not proceed without consent of NCN band members.

In a recent CBC Radio interview, NCN band member and South Indian Lake resident Carol Wood said "more time is needed because Metis and non-aboriginal residents have not yet been considered or consulted".

Serious negotiations on the reserve started in December 2004, after decades of neglect and inaction. Steve Ducharme, former Mayor of South Indian Lake and representative for the Manitoba Metis Federation added "we'll have to do something- maybe ask for a court injunction to delay it." South Indian Lake Metis resident Hilda Dysart raised similar concerns in a February 16, 2005 letter to Manitoba Minister Oscar Lathlin.

Carol Kobliski, spokesperson for Nelson House Justice Seekers, shares the concerns of DRSIL and other South Indian Lake residents.

Contacts:

Hilda Dysart - 1-204- 374-2349 or 1-204-374-2056
Steve Ducharme - 1-204-374-2014 or 1-204-374-2056
Carol Kobliski - 1-204- 484-2594 or 1-204-484-2246
Angus Dysart - 1-204-778-7447

/For further information: Angus Dysart - 1-204-778-7447 / IN: ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, INTERNATIONAL, MEDIA, SOCIAL

Contact Information

  • Hilda Dysart, South Indian Lake
    Primary Phone: 204-374-2349
    Secondary Phone: 204-374-2056