Opitciwan and the Plan Nord: Forestry, Protests, and Declarations of Sovereignty

By Sarah Amira Aldridge

The Atikamekw Nation includes Manawan, Wemotaci, and Opitciwan. The three communities are located around the Upper Sainte-Maurice River and in the Valley of Quebec. Within the context of the Plan Nord, Opitciwan is the only Atikamekw Community that is above the infamous 49th parallel. The economic interest the Plan Nord has in seizing this resourceful geographical area is the forestry industry. Sawmills in and around Opitciwan have been in development since the 1800’s and by the early 1900’s it had been established as a paper and pulp mill community. Read More

Indigenous Education

By Nathalie Montero Zubieta

Indigenous Knowledge is an inter-generational knowledge transmission that has been interrupted with the assimilation process of the Indian Act’s residential schools (Aquash 2013, page 29). The repercussions of this interruption is seen on Indigenous identities but it also causes a mandatory shift towards modernisation, as an opposition to tradition. Under the Indian Act, the federal government is responsible of the Indigenous education financing but was also responsible of the construction, the administration and the management of aboriginal education until the end of the 1970s (Hot 2010, 9-10). Read More

Innu Protest at Salon Plan Nord

By Shiann Wahéhshon Whitebean

On April 21, 2012, a protest was held at Palais de Congrés in Montreal where the Salon du Plan Nord (Plan Nord Job Fair) took place (Montreal Gazette Videos, 2012). At this time there were daily protests against tuition hikes being held by Montreal students, and as a result there were hundreds of protestors on the premises. A bus load of Innu came from Uashat mak Mani-Utenam to protest the Charest Government’s Plan Nord and were joined by Mohawks from Kahnawá:ke Read More

Indigenous Responses to Mining and Colonialism in Schefferville

By Charles O’Connor

Premier Phillippe Couillard says, that in re-launching Plan Nord, “[n]ous le faisons dans le but d’optimiser les retombées économiques dans les communautés locales et autochtones du Nord et dans toutes les régions du Québec (Gouvernment du Quebec, 2015, III)”.  Unfortunately for the Innu, the new Plan Nord offers no promises of restoring abandoned mine sites around Schefferville, Quebec. Read More

Vocational training overview

By Sara Serravalle

According to the vision of Plan Nord introduced in 2011, the government wanted to initiate a more sustainable project in order to support Quebec’s economic and social development. In order to do this, the government wanted to use the Northern territories for its rich resources. Such rich resources include forests, mining areas, fertile land and water sources to produce energy (Couillard, pp.1, 2011). Although the government saw great potential in using all of these resources, they knew they could not begin launching projects without the consent of the Aboriginal communities who inhabit these lands. Hydro-Québec was one of the companies to cooperate with Aboriginal communities, particularly the Cree. Read More

The Forestry Toolbox Strategy

By Ramnik Riar

The forestry industry is one of Canada’s top primary resource sectors. Members of the First Nations in Quebec formed the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Sustainable Development Institute (FNQLSDI) and have developed the forestry toolbox in order to advocate sustainable forestry management. The forestry toolbox is a tool used by First Nations which is aimed at sustainable resource management of ancestral lands. Read More

Plan Nunavik and the Parnasimautik Consultations

By Julie Deslile

Plan Nunavik was created in 2012 as a response to Quebec’s Plan Nord. Developed by the Makivik Corporation and the Kativik Regional Government of Nunavik, Plan Nunavik is a document which describes the current situation and concerns regarding housing, health, education, access to territory, mining, energy, tourism, bio-food, wildlife, culture and identity, telecommunications and community development. Read More

The Role of Women in Mining

By Amanda Claudia Bos

The Plan Nord 2.0 plans to create new jobs in the mining industry in the territory above the 49th parallel. Because the mining sector is predominantly a masculine environment, this brings questions about how the Plan Nord will benefit women. The Féderation Interprofessionnelle de la Santé du Quebec states that a study on mining in Labrador shows that significantly less women than men enter the mining field and therefore get lower paid occupations, while men often have stable functions Read More

Mining Done Well

By Nicolas Kaal

It is difficult to write in favour of a mining company such as Goldcorp which across many countries has been ethically one of the worst companies. In the case of Guatemala, the installation of the Marlin mine caused many harms and violations to several Mayan communities who were displaced by force, lost their access to water, contaminated by open pit-highly toxic processes, Read More