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Won’t give up

['Letter to the editor']
['Letter to the editor']

I want to talk about Muskrat Falls. Even though Muskrat has already started, I am very, very concerned. I am sick but don’t want to give up fighting for Muskrat Falls. It’s too important.

The next time I want to do something, even if my people don’t come, I still want to do something. It’s very, very important to us, our river, our land, our animals, our medicine and berries. Innu people, my parents and other elders, have been hunting for thousands of years. In the past our parents would go in the country and hunt and fish to feed our family. They would teach younger generations how to do that. Then when they were old the next generation would take over providing food for the family. When I think about my people, in the country all my people; children, grandchildren, were very happy. Grandchildren hunting with their grandfather or fishing. I can see in my eyes and I can feel that everyone was so happy. When young children are happy, the grandparents and everyone were so happy, too. I remember that.

Now, what happens when I look at Muskrat Falls it makes me so sad, so much damage. All kinds of big machines, breaking trees and blasting rocks, so noisy. I wondered what happened to the animals when they heard that. Maybe some run away but I don’t think all of them did. I wonder what happened when the animals smelled the gas from the machines. I’m thinking about every spring babies are born, beaver, otters, caribou. Maybe the animals are thinking where will I have my babies? It’s such a big mess. I want to protect animals because my parents always protected and respected them. I want to do the same thing. Even though my people work at Muskrat, no one is going to stop me. I was to protect the environment – this is my meshkanau (path), I want to protect everything until I die.

Already Muskrat is a very, very big problem. Why does the government want to start another one at Gull Island? Already the machine has dug into Gull Island where we have our gathering and the berries are all gone. We don’t want to put our tents in the sand. We have special gatherings at Gull Island and I would like to talk more about Muskrat at the gathering this fall. I feel like the government is sneaking and not telling us anything, then we go to Muskrat or Gull Island and don’t know what’s happening. No one explains the damage to us.

There’s going to be even more mercury when Muskrat Falls and Gull Island are done. Where are my grandchildren going to hunt? That won’t happen anymore.

Why does the government want to keep going ahead when they’re taking away everything we have? Why do they not listen to us? What’s going to be left for my children and grandchildren? So many people from outside of here come and destroy our land. They get to go home after their job is done but I will be here until I die. Everything we have, I never thought the government would take it away. Now they don’t stop and there will be nothing left for the next generations.

When will the government listen? They should respect us and the next generations.

Elizabeth Penashue

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