Yesterday when someone showed me the pictures of Churchill Falls and the water coming back I was very shocked. I thought, ‘What’s going on?’ and then people explained to me what’s happening. I’m thinking about the old people, a long time ago, and the Innu people hunting everywhere. I think about my parents, always talking about the mist from the falls they could see from far, far away when they were hunting. I was very nervous when I saw that and started thinking about Muskrat Falls.
I have wanted to talk about Muskrat Falls again for a long time but those who help me have been busy. I’m very concerned about Muskrat Falls. When I go up near Muskrat Falls for a drive I can see so much damage. Our people are going to lose so many things. Innu people have been here for thousands of years living hunting and now everything is going to die; water, trees, everything on the ground — Innu medicine, berries, it won’t grow again. Animals and fish everywhere eat these things, they drink water, and eat grass to survive. All their food is going to die, too. The animals are going to be looking but won’t be able to find good food. Even though animals don’t talk, when I see animals it’s like they talk to me. When they made Churchill Falls dam, it started the mercury in the water, now there’s going to be more mercury from Muskrat Falls.
Innu people know how the animals feel, for so many years we lived in the country with them. We hunted, fished, and survived with our children from the animals in the country – I understand how animals feel – and I am very, very sad.
For many years I’ve worked for a good meshkanu (path) for the young people, protecting the environment for future generations. I am from Labrador and will be here until I’m gone, but the Muskrat Falls Project has brought in people from outside and broken my meshkanu.
The excavator at Gull Island has dug out the earth. We used to pick red berries and be in the bush but now all kinds of machines have taken that away. I don’t want them to go ahead with Gull Island. What they have done with Muskrat Falls has caused enough destruction to the Innu land and river. If they start to develop Gull Island I think women should stand up against it. I remember many years ago in the past women have been so strong when they protest together.
Elizabeth Penashue Sheshatshiu