The Uashaunnuat (Innu Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam) filed a motion May 7 for an interlocutory injunction against the hydroelectric project, La Romaine. The proposed electric transmission lines run through the heart of traditional lands of the Uashaunnuat and Innu traditional families.
“We affirm our complete sovereignty over our traditional lands and oppose any development without our consent,” said Chief Georges-Ernest Grégoire of Uashat Mak Mani Utenam.
As soon as Hydro-Québec made the announcement of the Romaine hydroelectric complex, the Uashaunnuat opposed the construction, including the transmission lines. In June 2009, the Uashaunnuat, the Innu traditional families and the political body representing 3800 Innu Takuaikan Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam (ITUM) filed a motion for a permanent injunction with the Quebec Superior Court.
The transmission lines would deliver electricity from La Romaine to the des Montagnais and Arnaud substation, and are located within the ancestral lands of the Uashaunnuat and traditional Innu families. “These constructions are illegal. The Uashaunnuat, the traditional Innu families and ITUM have never consented to this development. I am a man of my word. Our community is against this project, our Aboriginal title is threatened and, today, we rely on the courts to stop any development of the territory without our consent. Hydro-Québec has not left us much choice,” said Grégoire.
The Uashaunnuat say the environmental impacts of this project and the construction of transmission lines are irreversible and irreparable. The Innu of Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam have never ceded, surrendered nor exchanged their rights to their ancestral territory. “We will prevent this project since it is without our consent and it violates our Aboriginal rights,” Grégoire said.