Cardinal Communications, Inc.

May 07, 2010 12:33 ET

La Romaine Hydroelectric Project: The Innu Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam go to court to enforce their Aboriginal rights

MONTREAL, May 7 - The Uashaunnuat (Innu Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam) filed a motion today for an interlocutory injunction against the hydroelectric project, La Romaine. The proposed electric transmission lines run through the heart of traditional lands of the Uashaunnuat and Innu traditionnal families.

"We affirm our complete sovereignty over our traditional lands and oppose any development without our consent," said Chief Georges-Ernest Grégoire.

Soon after the announcement of the Romaine hydroelectric complex, Uashaunnuat opposed the construction of the project, including the location of its transmission lines. In June 2009, the Uashaunnuat, the Innu traditional families and the political body representing 3,800 Innu Takuaikan Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam (ITUM) filed a motion for a permanent injunction with the Quebec Superior Court.

The transmission lines, provided by Hydro-Quebec to deliver electricity from La Romaine to the des Montagnais and Arnaud substation, sit directly within the ancestral lands of the Uashaunnuat and traditional Innu families. "These constructions are illegal. The Uashaunnuat, the traditional Innu families and ITUM have never consented to this sort of development. I am a man of my word. Our community is against this project, our Aboriginal title is threatened and, today, we rely on the courts to stop any development of the territory without our consent. Hydro-Quebec has not left us much choice, "said Chief of ITUM, Georges-Ernest Grégoire.

This project violates the brunt of the Aboriginal rights and treaty of Uashaunnuat and infringe upon Aboriginal rights protected by article 35 of the Constitution Act of 1982. The environmental impacts of this project and the construction of transmission lines are irreversible and irreparable. The Innu of Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam have never ceded, surrendered nor exchanged their rights to their ancestral territory, "We will prevent this project since it is without our consent and it violates our Aboriginal rights," Chief Grégoire said.

Contact Information

  • Rosario Pinette, (418) 961-3071; Lyne Morissette, (514) 871-8117