Fox Lake Cree Nation blocks road access to 3 Hydro sites
First Nation suspects Manitoba Hydro involved after sacred site damaged
A northern Manitoba First Nation has put up a road block to keep Manitoba Hydro workers from three sites.
Fox Lake Cree Nation Chief, Walter Spence, said the decision was made after a ceremonial site was desecrated.
Spence said Hydro agreed to and participated in the ceremony before starting construction. The tobacco ties and prayer flags signified the land as a sacred site.
He said that area was off limits to Hydro construction workers, as per an agreement the First Nation made with the corporation.
Spence said the road block started at 6 a.m. Thursday. They are using heavy machinery to shut down a junction on Highway 290, which leads to three Hydro sites: the Henday converter station, Limestone generating station and Keewatinohk access gate and construction camp.
The chief says Hydro agreed to build around those sacred sites, which were marked with the prayer flags and tobacco ties.
"It's a breach of our mutual agreement to work together," he said.
"We are patient. We live here. We can remain here until he comes. It's really up to him. It is a peaceful social action," he added his band members will stay as long as it takes.
The road block does not affect regular traffic, just work crews trying to access the sites.
Manitoba Hydro investigating incident
Scott Powell, a spokesperson for Manitoba Hydro said, the corporation is taking the incident very seriously.
"We want to move forward in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect," Powell said Thursday afternoon.
Hydro is doing its own investigation into who may have done this and why, he said. adding that Hydro's CEO will travel to Fox Lake as soon as weather permits.