TREATY ONE TERRITORY – The First Nations within the Keewatinowi region are concerned that 9 out of 10 board members for Manitoba Hydro have quit in frustration caused by a lack of communication with the Pallister government. The Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakinak (MKO) Grand Chief Sheila North says that relationships between northern First Nations and the provincial utility are crucial to the long-term growth and health of Manitoba’s economy and must be properly maintained.
“As a Crown corporation with obligations to MKO First Nations, Manitoba Hydro holds an important place in the province of Manitoba and should not be toyed with. For the Hydro board to say they’ve had no communication with the leader of the province is disturbing. This is a drastic move that, I’m sure, these people appointed by Pallister did not take lightly,” Grand Chief North said. “Much of the province’s wealth comes from lands and treaty areas that are mostly populated by First Nation people. Treaty 5 acknowledges that First Nations controlled the waterways. Hydro’s relationships with First Nations are crucial to a steady flow of electricity south and Manitoba’s economy. Numerous First Nations in the Keewatinowi territory have issues with Manitoba Hydro’s actions and policies. Without some discussion of these issues with elected leaders, how can these issues be resolved?”
The MKO will be seeking a meeting with Manitoba Hydro and the Premier to discuss the concerns of both, and to seek input on the new appointments to the Manitoba Hydro board. Having First Nation peoples on the board for Manitoba Hydro will ensure those communities who feel the burden of developing Manitoba’s rivers the most will have a voice at the table.