Lake Manitoba, Treaty 2 Territory – The Province of Manitoba who entered the Treaty 2 Territory long after 1871 has been announcing that they are proceeding with the Lake St. Martin and Lake Manitoba Megaprojects with or without First Nation involvement and prior consent.
“A protocol must be agreed to with the Crown agents and Treaty 2 Territory before this type of project can be discussed within our territory”, said Vice Chief Cornell McLean, Chief of the Lake Manitoba First Nation.
The proposed canals Manitoba is illegally working on is the size of two-football fields wide – on our lands in Treaty 2 Territory will cause tremendous damage to First Nations hundreds of kilometers away. Why the concern kilometres away? The basic answer is because fish swim – they spawn in special locations and contaminated water has no boundaries, neither does invasive species; what comes down the channel will be shared in other water sources. The livelihood and quality of life of all First Nations around Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin are affected. Not only First Nations will be affected but all of Lake Manitoba fisheries as well; it should cause alarm to all Manitobans.
“When Manitoba or Canada want to work within the Treaty 2 Territory the days of faxing a letter or saying hello at a 15-minute coffee and donut greeting is over. If we follow your laws, accommodation and consent by the collective must be obtained”, said Councillor/Head Man Leroy Thompson, Little Saskatchewan.
The expenditure of $540-million dollars to create the channel is moving forward without any consideration to the First Nations people who were evacuated in the 2011 flood, some who continue to live in hotels seven years later! People from four First Nations that were directly affected are dying and living on the streets because of the man-made structures put in years ago. No formal consultation has been done by both Canada and Manitoba and certainly no consent has been given.
In attendance at the press announcement on 27 November 2018 was First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory (FNiT2T) Vice-Chief Cornell Mclean, who is Chief of Lake Manitoba First Nation; Lake St. Martin First Nation Chief, Adrian Sinclair; Little Saskatchewan First Nation Councillor, Leroy Thompson; Southern Chiefs Organization (SCO) Grand Chief Jerry Daniels; and Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) Grand Chief, Arlen Dumas.
“This is an engineering solution to an engineering problem which has never worked. In 2012, they built a $100-million canal out of Lake St. Martin. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t help. If Manitoba is so determined to spend $540-million of taxpayer money, why doesn’t it spend it on something that is a priority, something of value: like better housing for poor people, help Manitobans with costs of medicines etc – why waste it on a project that will make money for some at the expense of everyone else?”, said FNiT2T Vice-Chief McLean, Chief of the Lake Manitoba First Nation.
We are not talking about natural flooding. We are talking about illegal man-made flooding, the operation of the Portage Diversion of the Assiniboine River into Lake Manitoba – both federal and provincial governments know this is illegal! Why contribute to crime by giving them more money to spend?
“I am here to day to support the Chiefs of Treaty 2 and the protection of their territory, Manitoba better start listening to Treaty 2. What Manitoba is doing is not consultation,” said AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas. Going further to say, “The Government must understand that the progress will not move forward without the support of the Treaty 2 Chiefs…We will stand by our Chiefs, all our Rights, our Sec 35 Rights, our Treaty Rights, our Inherent Rights…I want to acknowledge the T2 Chiefs the actual, practical, tangible solutions they brought forward, the Premier and ministers are choosing to ignore that and that I strongly encourage the Province to reconsider this path. It’s a show of bad faith for this government to be begging the Federal Government to actually forgo our Sec 35 Rights. It totally out of line and totally out of law and its not something we will allow,” said AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas.
These megaprojects are a part of this illegal enterprise. It diverts water that might flood Winnipeg onto Indian Lands where it floods out the Indians. $40-billion dollars of flood damage has been prevented, which is nice, but it’s being done at the expense of the First Nations. Shouldn’t there be compensation, so we can move our communities to Higher Ground?
“Your government does not have consent of the Anishinaabe people of these lands, and your description of consultation its needing to be efficient; isn’t genuine, and does not reflect the Treaty partnership, does not reflect the future we are working together, the solutions to the problems need to be driven by our Indigenous peoples; the peoples who openly invited and saved many many life’s in our territories the Anishinaabe Nation opened the doorway after the Royal Proclamation signed through a Treaty process that gave them access,” said SCO Grand Chief Daniels
Grand Chief Daniels also said “Instead of expedited a mega-project in our lands, you need to ensure that we are involved in every step of the way of the process and I hear him calling upon the Federal Gov to streamline the environmental assessment process because he wants to move things forward, but he wants to have dialogue but he’s already moving projects and awarding contracts. How can you have a dialogue when all the decisions have been made? Where is the partnership?
The real answer is to fix the real cause of the problem, which is the draining of wetlands, permitting development too close to riverbanks, clearing away the natural barriers that hold water back and prevent flooding. The Government instead should be giving us the $600-million and we’ll restore the wellness of the natural world and prevent flooding by dealing with the cause of the problem, not by trying to avoid all the damage that has been done.
Treaty 2 Territory now has a temporary government in place after 147 years of Canada and Manitoba laws being pushed upon the people of Treaty 2. With the establishment of the Treaty 2 government comes First Nations laws, acts and governing of their people, land, water and all the resources in the entire territory; enough of the settler laws and attitudes that ignore our Rights! Nothing about us without us, in unity we remain!
Last modified: December 1, 2018