I want to talk about Muskrat Falls. Since the construction has started, my heart is broken. My late husband Francis and I tried so hard to protect the land, plus there were others, too, and children.
For almost 10 years, we canoed that river to show people how much it meant to us to protect the land.
Today, when I drive on the Churchill Road, I can see the damage already to the land, where the hydro lines will go. I see it everywhere.
A part of me, looking at this destruction, makes me feel so sad, and also like I failed to protect the land. I feel embarrassed.
So many things, growing things, like trees and berries, have been destroyed. The animals that eat from the land, their habitat, has been destroyed. The animals now will not be able to handle the smells that their food will have, such as gas, oil, and anything of man.
The pain that I feel is nothing of the pain that our Mother Earth is enduring. Every day, Mother Earth cries, as do I. I don't believe I am the only person that feels this way. I believe the elders in my community, too, are very hurt.
Does the government really not care about how much destruction this project is causing in Labrador for future generations?
They should look at preserving the land, more than looking at how much money will be made. I understand that people need to work, but there has to be a way to better take care of the land. So much has already been destroyed.
We, as humans, want to eat good and healthy food, drink clean water, and the animals want and deserve the same.
When we fought to protect the land, we fought to see it preserved. We did not want to see all this destruction everywhere. We wanted to show the government that the protection of the land is of the utmost importance, hoping that they would consider our efforts and try as hard as possible to preserve as much as possible.
Before my husband passed away, he helped me to protect the environment. We had many talks about how we wanted the future generation to be able to use the land as we did.
Even though I am alone now, I still feel the same and will still protect the environment with all I can.
- Elizabeth Penashue is an Innu elder who lives in Sheshatshiu