AMC concerned about sexual violence allegations connected to Manitoba Hydro development in northern Manitoba
August 22, 2018
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Treaty One Territory, MB – A damaging report by the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission was made public yesterday. The Commission, an arm’s-length provincial agency, studied the social impact of hydro development past and present on First Nations surrounding multiple Hydro developments for the Nelson, Burntwood, and Churchill River systems.
“The report brings to light disturbing allegations of violence against First Nation women and other community members,” stated Grand Chief Arlen Dumas of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC). “We commend the people who helped develop the report by sharing the painful realities they witnessed or experienced connected to Hydro development in northern Manitoba.”
The Province of Manitoba announced it would ask the RCMP to look into allegations made in the report, which include rape and sexual violence.
“The issue of violence is at the forefront as the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is underway,” stated Grand Chief Dumas. “Unfortunately there have been ongoing issues with both the RCMP and hydro development projects. The issues have come up throughout the Inquiry and yet the Inquiry’s limited mandate doesn’t deal with this recurring concern. We will be submitting this report to the National Inquiry.”
“First Nations people of all ages have experienced severe trauma connected to Hydro developments,” Grand Chief Dumas stated. “While there are allegations of rape and sexual abuse, we also have experienced the loss and degradation of our land, water, and traditional ways of life. These developments have impacted the ability to hunt, trap, and fish for First Nations people, which also destroys our economic livelihood. It’s important that we learn from and take action on what is shared in this report.”
“The AMC will reach out to the Government of Manitoba on this issue,” said Grand Chief Dumas. “We are willing to collaborate with the government and Manitoba Hydro in developing safety measures. We encourage the government and Manitoba Hydro to work diligently to ensure this doesn’t happen with future northern development initiatives in Manitoba.”
Manitoba Hydro and the Manitoba government are producing a Next Steps document. The AMC encourages the Government of Manitoba to ensure that it puts policies and safeguards in place that will help to protect and respect First Nations women, girls, and citizens throughout the future management of the Nelson, Burntwood, Rat, and Churchill River systems.
Photo of Grand Chief Arlen Dumas by Dave Swiecicki