Just hours after the Innu blockade of Route 138 was broken by police intervention, the Innu Band Council Uashat mak Mani-Utenam (ITUM) issued a statement regarding its community’s actions.

“The [ITUM] is not surprised by the latest overflow of anger from the community…. All the great Innu Nations in Quebec and the Labrador can testify to the violation of their rights by the government and the destruction of their traditional territory by Hydro-Québec, mining companies like IOC, and forestry companies.”

The ITUM said it will never compromise on territorial protection, and that it opposes all development on their land without their consent, including challenging the Romaine River project in Quebec courts. The press release chastises the Quebec and Canadian governments for “ignor[ing] the Indian title and other Aboriginal rights since Confederation”.

Protestors blocked Route 138 two weeks ago in protest of Plan Nord, using spruce trees and their own bodies to barricade the road for all but essential deliveries. On October 16, police broke up the demonstration, opening up the strategic road for regular usage.

A second blockade was erected briefly at the Sept-Îles exit a week later, but disbanded after speaking with the Sûreté du Québec.