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Muskrat Falls taking more than land

Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor

I don't forget Muskrat Falls, even if I don’t talk about it as much. I have to find someone to help me with the English. I am still very concerned about Muskrat Falls. There are so many things we will lose. Labrador people will be very sad when they see all that we have lost. It hurts me so much, I cry when I think about all the changes at Muskrat. I want to do something to help. I walk on the road, walk to the Mealy Mountains on snowshoes, canoe on the river, do something! I feel I have to do something. Sometimes when I do things, I think people wonder why I do it. I do it to protect our land and animals. I do it for the children. When I'm gone, maybe children will remember and maybe they will help protect the land. I hope people will respect what I am saying. It’s so important.

I feel the old people, those who have passed away, I feel them talk to me. These people tell me about the good times and hard times they had on the river, the good times their children had on the river; the children were very happy. The old people say you must do these things, even when we’re gone. You must teach these things and talk about these things so people remember. When I went to Nutshamit, I tried to teach the children everything, so they don't forget our culture. The old people, tell me to keep doing this, keep teaching the children.

But I can't do that if the land is destroyed. I can't pass this knowledge on if there's nowhere left to teach, if there's no river, no trees left, no animals. The beautiful land has changed. How can I do those teachings with everything is destroyed? When you want to do something, you need tools to work with, but my tools are gone, I have nothing to work with. My parents had all these tools at their hands, the water was good, there were lots of animals, and the trees were healthy. For me, I have nothing left to work with. I am so sad, because someone took my tools. The government took my tools.

I hear them talk about Gull Island now, I don't want to hear about that. I wish people would get together and fight the government, because we have already lost so much. I see where the machines have scraped the ground at Gull Island, taken away places where there were lots of berries and only left sand. Already, there is lots of damage there. It makes me worried. I don't want to see them damaging another place. The government need to listen to people. I thought by talking, I could make changes, but the government never stops, they keep going and destroying more land.

Another thing I want to say: Some Akinishau and Akiniskueu (English-speaking men and women) help me and support me, some brought me some firewood and some berries a while ago. I want to thank them. I really appreciate it.  One time this winter, someone cleaned out the driveway to my cabin. When I see that, I want to thank whoever did it but I don't know who it was. Lots of people help me, and it makes me very happy.

Elizabeth Penashue

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