As the children played off to the side and the wife of the late Tommy Neeposh, Kitty, looked on, the Neeposh family of Mistissini were gathered by the transfer tunnel to inaugurate the Tommy Neeposh Scenic Lookout near the Rupert dam.
On October 8, under a cloudy sky, a crowd of 100 people were joined by Réal Laporte, President of Hydro-Québec Équipement and CEO of SEBJ, and Normand Béchard, director of Eastmain projects, to inaugurate the lookout.
The lookout is located at the entrance of the transfer tunnel (also named after Neeposh), which travels for almost 3 km under Lake Sillimanite. The transfer tunnel was built to take the water diverted from the Rupert River to the north while leaving the lake intact.
When Jimmy Neeposh took to the podium his emotions were running high. He read out a statement about his father, who was man of sharing. He said his father would travel many miles to the next traplines to share his catch of food with others.
Lake Sillimanite is a special site for the Neeposh family because they would spend the beginning of winter there as the lake was the first to freeze over making it easier to set their nets under the ice to prepare for the cold months ahead.
Jimmy explained how the project was tough on the family but in respecting their father’s wishes, they all supported the project. They have come to realize their dad was not only thinking of his children or himself but his attitude of sharing extended to the Cree nation and even to the people down south.
Jimmy said it had been especially difficult for his younger brother Philip. Afterwards I had a chance to speak with the brothers. Philip said it had been hard on him because the tunnel is right where he was born. Yet eventually he realized his father’s vision of sharing was the way they should go.
There was also an unveiling of artwork by Tim Whiskeychan and Robert Nepveu, which was dedicated to the site along with some plaques with information on the family history of the area.