Let’s create an independent Labrador

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Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

This is an open letter to all Labradorians:

 I’m sitting in a little rented apartment in St. John’s, NL, all but a gunshot away from the House of Assembly. I’m here for medical services waiting for the arrival of my two first-born children. The announcement today on the sanctioning of the Muskrat Falls Project has me so upset that I cannot sleep, and can only ponder the future for my children.

So, I write to you all today to ask a simple question.  Can we come together for the first time in our history for one common cause? A bright future for my home and yours, Labrador.

I’m not a politician, and I don’t want to be. I’m not highly educated, and I don’t need to be. I’m a member of NunatuKavut but that does not define me. I have Innu ancestors and that does not define me. My mom is a Newfoundlander and that does not define me. My wife is a Newfoundlander and while she might influence me sometimes, it does not define me!  I’m a Labradorian by definition.

I’m like what I think a lot of other Labradorians are like. We want to live in our homeland, make a good living, fulfill our needs and wants in life, and think in the end that we did it right; not unlike any other group of people connected to their homeland.

I’m a product of a territory that raised me, and a family that loved me; a family of hunters, trappers, fishermen, tradespeople, and business people.

I don’t ever want to forget where my family came from, or ever lose sight of where we are going. That is why I’m writing you all today. Whether you were born and raised here, or are a come from away does not matter to me. If you are Innu, Inuit, Metis, or settler does not matter to me. What matters to me is that the reader of this letter calls Labrador home.

I’m saddened in the last 24 hours to see in the news yet again the divide and conquer tactic used by the government of NL to push through another mega project in Labrador.

Dunderdale and her PCs have satisfied the requirements of one aboriginal group and a business community for the sake of their main goal…haul another mega resource out of Labrador for the benefit of others.

I do not hold the Innu Nation in contempt for signing onto the MF deal. They are victims of Newfoundland government strategy. Just like I do not hold anything against the Inuit of Northern Labrador for allowing Voisey’s Bay minerals to be shipped to Newfoundland for processing. They too had some requirements met and were victims of Newfoundland government strategy.

If Search Minerals strikes it rich in the Port Hope Simpson rare earth elements district the same thing could very well happen with the Southern Inuit of Labrador. All it will take is a promise of a royalty, and a few jobs and everyone will be happy.

Let’s face it, this government has oppressed the people of Labrador for so long that when a bone is thrown our way we snatch it. The fact is, we never have the whole of our small population, or the future generations of Labradorians at heart.

It is obvious that I am opposed to the Muskrat Falls development. I think it is a bad deal for Labrador and her people as a whole.

I think it is irresponsible in the 21st century to destroy the Earth with a dam, and I think there has to be underhanded reasons for the development when the government has pushed it through without allowing for public scrutiny, and all the while changing our democratic right to public information legislation to do it.

Our wealth as a nation is resource based.  And if resources in Labrador had been developed/harvested by Labradorians and for Labradorians none of these poor circumstances would exist in Labrador.

You do not have to see it my way. It is ok with me if you disagree with my point of view on the Muskrat Falls Project. I have family that does not agree…that’s ok. I’m not writing this to change your mind. I’m appealing to you all today to help put an end to this divide and conquer tactic used by an outside government to move its agenda forward on Labrador issues.

I strongly feel that it is time that Labrador become its own territory and the population within control its own destiny. The aboriginal groups and the settlers in Labrador can all live with a standard of living second to none in the world, and we can do it with our own people at the reins of our resources.

Many times I have been looked down upon for defending Labradorians who have a heavy dependency on EI, or towns that do not currently have a resource base to draw from.

“They don’t pay enough taxes to grant getting insurable seasonal work” or “Your tax base doesn’t justify municipal upgrades or paved highways.”

I like to make the counter-argument that nobody in Canada pays enough taxes to justify the standard of living we have.

Our wealth as a nation is resource based.  And if resources in Labrador had been developed/harvested by Labradorians and for Labradorians none of these poor circumstances would exist in Labrador.

I have nothing against the people of Newfoundland, they are good people and many have made Labrador their home right from Labrador City to Nain to L’anse au Clair.

I have a major problem with being controlled by a government elected by a population that has no interest in the well being of Labrador. This is historical fact and I could go on…and on.

 Ok, my letter is getting long-winded.  Here’s the bottom line. It has been tried before and I want to see it tried again.

Will you help me unite Labradorians of all backgrounds and create a territory that controls its own future? If you believe in this cause please, drop me a phone call 709-456-8886 cell until mid-January or 709-938-7549 at home in Labrador, or find me on facebook.

If you are not a FB friend…send a quick message that says ‘Labrador Territory’ and you soon will be.  Join the FB group “Free Labrador”.

Facebook ranting will not fix the problem, but social media is a powerful way to communicate and get organized.

Labradorians…we can do this!

I don’t have any of the answers on how, but there is leadership amongst us who can figure it out, and I want to be a part of that.  Set aside differences, do not dwell on individual projects of the past or present that the Newfoundland government has divided us on. Let us move forward, united.

I’ll end with this note from my personal collection of memories. My grandfather was a fisherman, trapper, skilled craftsman, and at one point in his life worked for the government. As a young boy, I always remember him scratching out “NF” or “Newfoundland” or “NL” on any prefilled form or cheque and writing in ‘Labrador’.

As a child I always thought he was wrong, but as I entered the adult world I fully understood why.

 

Dwight Lethbridge

Labradorian

Organizations: Dear Editor

Geographic location: Labrador, Northern Labrador, Labrador.Dunderdale Port Hope Simpson Canada

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Comments

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Recent comments

  • PHIL C.
    February 11, 2013 - 04:58

    I, AGREE WITH MR. LETHBRIDGE LETTER, AS A FORMER RESIDENT OF HAPPY VALLEY, FROM THE 1950s 1960s TILL EARLY 1970s, TO CREATE AN INDEPENDENT LABRADOR. THE BIG LAND.

  • labrador inuk
    January 04, 2013 - 10:04

    as far as im concerned there are only 2 native groups in labrador the nunatsiavut inuit n the innu if the metis calls themselves natives wheres there language n culture

    • Kirby Lethbridge
      April 27, 2013 - 21:39

      i am thankful that your idiocy is hidden behind a fake 'name'.you should also be even more thankful.to me,you are the dimwitted idiot who put Labrador deeper into the grips of colonialism by your hateful indifference toward the Metis...all for what?for a stupid,dumb,WORSE than poorly thought out 'land claim'...how is that immunity from prosecution working out for you?i speak the truth and i know who you are...

  • Darren Robertson
    January 02, 2013 - 01:29

    Much thanks to Dwight Lethbridge and all other involved parties who take great interest in this proposal. While the current list of projects spiriting away Labrador resources may be too late to prevent; something must be done to put Labradorian's at the forefront of benefiting from future activity. Everyone there is sadly aware of pervading issues which prevent any real form of economic development in our home economy. Typically being bad transportation infrastructure. High transport prices. Insane energy and fuel prices. The outflow of young talent out of the province. We need to press our case hard to maximize our involvement now. Hundreds of projects literally wait in the wings. We need to foster a relationship that give our youth a fighting chance to be part of the solution. There are wonderful opportunities in places most would not expect. We should make it our business to see that we, our aboriginal governments, the province and Federal Canada can get it done on terms friendlier to our populace. The time of playing groups against each other is gone. We must build consensus, unity and direction from here on out. Please join the discussions!

  • Wilbert
    January 01, 2013 - 16:19

    What you say is no different than what the people on the island say about resources there. Your enemy is not the provincial government it is the one in Ottawa. This brook is to wide and has to many dangers for you to jump across!