Wa Ni Ska Tan: Hydro-electricity and impacts on Indigenous and other communities – Global Research


06-09-20 07:06:00,

“We have no money to fight hydro so we’ve got to fight back with words and with words we can fight back. By telling the truth about what really is happening in these communities.”

– Gerald McKay, Fisher Grand Rapids, MB

 Wa Ni Ska Tan in Cree means  ‘Wake Up’ or more precisely To “Rise up’ representing a movement of First Nations and Indigenous Communities


Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

In Manitoba, residents in the southern community of Winnipeg have benefitted from effort to harness the raw power of those Northern flowing rivers. The surging torrents of water have plowed through dams releasing countless watts of electricity for a growing populace. Lights, motors, machines and, of course, computers depend on these outlets to thrive. Dam power as the champion of ‘clean’ energy is typically recommended as one of the chief replacers of the insidious fossil fuel depots. [2]

One slight problem: the land and people situated at the other end of the hydro-power train are enduring a wide diversity of suffering and developments that have degraded communities. Flooding caused in the wake of the dams damage burial grounds, trapping trails and medicinal tracts on which Indigenous people have endured for hundreds and even thousand of years. Once upset, this complex mix of social, environmental and cultural cohesion starts to unravel adversely impacting generations to come. [3]

Enter Wa Ni Ska Tan. This group is a mix of researchers in academic institutions and community members in these affected communities who forged alliance based on respect for hydro-impacted communities, the high level research the impacts have had on nature and on Indigenous communities, and as a force for social and environmental change. [4]

The group has had annual gatherings at various locales in Manitoba. The last annual gathering took place at the University of Winnipeg from November 8 to November 10, 2019. That event included visitors not only from Manitoba First Nations, but from similar communities across Canada as well as regions around the world, including Latin America and South Asia. [5]

This episode of the Global Research News Hour hopes to delve into some of the dynamics of hydro development,

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