Gov. Janet Mills has changed Oct. 11 to Indigenous Peoples Day, honoring Maine’s first native inhabitants. And, this past summer, Mainers also turned away replicas of Columbus’ ships out of respect for the state’s Indigenous inhabitants. So, how can Gov. Mills now stand behind the NECEC corridor, which has displaced and impoverished Quebec’s native people?

Lucien Wabanonik with Lac Simon’s band council in Quebec explains:
“While the non-Indigenous majority profits off of HQ’s illegitimate dealings, our people suffer. Our well-being indicators are now comparable to those of third world countries, we are forced to live in deplorable conditions of poverty, with a suicide rate five to seven times higher than the rest of Quebec.

“Kitcisakik Tribe, at the foot of one of HQ’s dams, has no access to electricity, running water or wastewater management infrastructure. There are 33 hydroelectric plants, 130 dams and dikes, 2.6 million acres of reservoirs, tens of thousands of kilometers of transmission and distribution lines and roads illegitimately operating on our ancestral territories. Hydro-Quebec doesn’t rightfully own 36 percent of its total installed electrical capacity, yet we’ve never been compensated for this massive taking.”

If Mainers do not reject the corridor, the tribes will sue the province of Quebec because more than a third of the electricity will be produced from dams on land the tribes never ceded to the Canadian government.
Mainers should vote “Yes” on Question 1 this November to reject the corridor and also honor the Indigenous people of Quebec … even if our governor will not.

Marjorie Monteleon
Southwest Harbor

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