(Uashat, Nitassinan – August 17, 2010) Speaking for his nation, Chief Georges-Ernest Grégoire of the Innu of Uashat mak Mani-Utenam is calling on the Government of Québec to declare an immediate moratorium on uranium exploration and mining throughout Québec. The statement is being made in support of the actions being taken by the grassroots organization Sept-Iles Sans Uranium at the National Assembly in Québec City this week.
According to Chief Grégoire, “A moratorium is necessary as the long term consequences of these activities on the environment, wildlife, and human health have not been evaluated and are not clearly understood.”
The exploitation of uranium for the production of energy should be the subject of a serious debate. For the Innu it is not at all clear that the Québec population wants to go down this path.
The Chief of the Innu of Uashat mak Mani-Utenam noted that several uranium exploration projects are found within their traditional territory and that all of these projects, as with all other authorisations by the Québec Government, require the free prior and informed consent of the Innu.
The Chief also noted that these projects have significant impacts on the Innu traditional rights to use, occupy and control their territory. “We live in our territory, we hunt and we fish there. What will come of our heritage and traditions if Québec promotes this kind of development? It will be impossible for us to live from the fish and game of Nitassinan as they will be contaminated if not completely lost forever. It’s inconceivable and totally unacceptable to the Innu,” declared Chief Grégoire.
Source : Kateri C. Jourdain
Director of Communications, ITUM