Letter from Roger Orr

To all my friends, my brothers, my sisters, and all the rivers

 

It is my duty to send this message to you all. It is my duty as it should be all. Our rivers of Quebec and the world are in danger! Rivers are the blood lines that provide life for all living species that occupy this earth. Without them, the chances of survival become lessened.

There is no more reason for hydro Quebec to dam more rivers other than that of personal gain. It has been, for decades, if not for centuries, the plan of Quebec to separate from Canada, and in order to fulfill this dream, Quebec needs a resource to obtain the finances to do so.  For the Government of Quebec, the most bountiful income would be the sell of electricity to another country, but this comes at a cost.

We, the Cree people of James Bay Quebec, have been having to deal with, first hand, the effects of the damming of the rivers that surround us and have sustained us since time immemorial. The effects are not good! Yes we have been compensated for the effects of the development, but this is not an answer, nor does it justify the impacts that it has, not only on the land, but also on the people and the future of our people.

The word “compensation”  itself, validates the fact that something wrong has been taking place and is still taking place to this day. When you do something wrong to someone you have to compensate to make up for that “someone’s” loss. No amount of money can make up for the loss of a river. With the loss of a river, follows the loss of fish and wild game, the loss of a culture, the loss of the connection to the land, the loss of independence, the loss of pride, the loss of an effective social structure, the loss self responsibility, the loss of the meaning and purpose in life and society, the loss of freedom, and the list goes on. This phenomenon that takes place is called “Anomie.” An industrial society that imposes its industrial ways on a society that is deeply embedded in its culture has a devastating impact due to the rapid social changes that take place during this time. “Anomie” occurs as the sociologist Emile Durkheim describes it, and this is what is taking place right now in our Cree society. Remember this word “Anomie” and study it.

Please do not let your eyes fool you. Yes we, as Cree, have magnificent buildings, entities, vehicles, material wealth, and compensation galore, and yes there is a minority of Cree people working on the construction site, but what we do not have is the spirit of independence that brings true health and prosperity to any nation. This is what is truly needed by First Nations across Canada. The more agreements we sign, the more we give up our rights and our leverage that enables us to stand with an argument that has an actual foundation to it.  To sign an agreement only excuses the developers and wipes their hands clean of any responsibility of the suffering from anomie that takes place amongst the people. In a nutshell, signing for compensation supposedly justifies their self-gain at the expense of the rivers, animals and the people. They win and we get fooled. The suffering continues. We the Cree are witness to this phenomenon.

All the rivers of Quebec are under siege by Hydro Quebec. These rivers need to flow for our future generations. They are true life givers and we need not forget this.  We as children of the earth need to stand together to protect what is left of these pristine forests and rivers. We as a people need to stand together to look into the alternatives and invest in what makes more sense today. More sense to what our children will be thankful to us for, and that is the fact that we protected the essence that will secure their lives forever.

If we can get to Mars, then we can figure out an alternative to damming our rivers. Why are we not doing this? Are we sacrificing the ones of tomorrow for our selfish selves today?

Do we have to over-ride another society with our beliefs and ways in order to become the dominant ones so as to gain access to the bounty that the land has to offer for ourselves, or do we show respect to the ones there before and work together in harmony without any over-riding and side agendas that still lead to self dominance. As the famous author Farley Mowatt puts it, colonization still taking place, but with a more “subtle guise.” Farley is referring to these treaties and agreements that are being signed by Governments and first Nations peoples across Canada today.  The Governments are becoming more clever with their tactics, instead of guns to over-ride, money is the weapon and the wolf delivers it with a sheep skin on. Could this be truth?

The day is today. We are in an era of truth, and we now have the will to tell it and to accept it. This gift can be used to an advantage that can benefit all people here in Quebec. In the end, the tallest temple that will stand will be the temple of Gods Creation.  If Quebec protects its rivers, forests, animals, and people, then what we preserved will be, in the end, the envy of all.

Thank you very much for taking the time to listen to our message. You are all a wonderful people.

Sincerely from the heart

Roger Orr. Cree resident of James Bay, and a friend to all.

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