Nfld. & Labrador

Innu want compensation for Upper Churchill project

The Innu Nation said Wednesday if it isn't compensated for the Upper Churchill project, it won't agree to allow a second hydro project to go ahead on the Churchill River.

The political organization that represents Innu in Labrador said Wednesday if it isn't compensated for the Upper Churchill project, it won't agree to allow a second hydro project to go ahead on the Churchill River.

The provincial government and the Innu Nation have been trying to work out a deal on the Lower Churchill hydro project for more than two years.

Peter Penashue, deputy grand chief of the Innu Nation, said the Innu weren't consulted during any phase of the massive Churchill Falls project 40 years ago.

The Innu lost hunting grounds, travel routes and property in the flooding for the project, Penashue said.

"There is no way that our people are going to agree if compensation is not being considered from the Upper Churchill. There has to be reparations. And it's the standard way of working with past grievances," Penashue said.

Before signing off on any deal, the Innu Nation wants a land claims agreement in addition to a benefits agreement in place on the Lower Churchill project, he added.

A framework agreement for land claims was approved by the Innu Nation in 1996. Negotiations have been ongoing ever since.

The province is not commenting on the negotiations.

The Innu Nation represents about 2,000 people, most of whom live in Sheshatshiu, in central Labrador, and Natuashish, on Labrador's northern coast.

now