Loggers are quickly moving northward. Now, they are active in the Waskaganish Territory and threaten the sacred Muskuchii Mountain. Tallyman Charlie Diamond spoke with us about the clearcutting near his trapline by the company Normick Perron. Charlie, 52, has been hunting since his father first took him at age 10. Charlie’s comments are translated from Cree. (See page 25 for more details about the logging in Waskaganish Territory.)
My grandfather passed the land to my father. He passed it to me. It’s almost time for me to pass it to my sons.
They want to log. They are soon going to come into my territory. They want to log this year. They are now going to come in.
There is a lot destroyed when they log. The animals, they won’t be able to stay. Moose, there won’t be any. He will go away. The martin also. The logging affects us a lot. I know once they start logging on my land, it will affect us even more. We will lose our belongings. There will be a lot of strangers once the road goes in.
I don’t allow the logging and I can’t agree with the logger to log there. I talked to them a few times. Even though I don’t allow them to log, they still want to log. I can’t allow it, where I got my life from. I didn’t go to school. That’s why I want to keep it. I saw where the Eeyou got their life from. Nobody needed help, no one needed welfare. He got his livelihood from the land. The way they want to alter the land, it’s as if they are cutting me down once they start cutting the trees on my land.
Wouldn’t it be better if they grew their own trees? Let them cut their own trees. That’s how I see it. They don’t want to listen to me even if I talk to them. They don’t take any of my words. I tried lots of times when they come in. They haven’t taken my words yet. The logger said, “Let’s make it right for us to log.” I’m making it “right.” You’re not logging, I told him.
Of course he doesn’t allow that. That’s all, I said; you’re not logging. But they continue on. They will soon be on my land. I’m not going to stop talking about the logging.
I saw how the hunting territories are affected towards Matagami with the Waswanipi people. They tell me what happens. They tell me there is no moose. I believe them. They have no martin, no animal can stay out in the open. Logging and dams, there is no difference.
There are more of us and the land seems to be getting smaller. When they flood or log the land, it’s as if we will never get it back. It will take a lot of years for the trees to grow back. And it will never be the same.
The mountain, that’s where we got the most food. There was a lot of moose. There was a lot of ptarmigan. The moose is still there. I “surveyed” the land last year with a helicopter. The signs of the moose are still around. Even if they make “moose yards” like they say, there still won’t be any moose. That’s why we don’t allow the logging.