Hevey Inlet First Nation Visits Nodin Kitigan
Nodin Kitigan Visit
Jennifer Ashawasegai, Communications Coordinator, October 01, 2015
Batchewana First Nationterritory - Members of Henvey Inlet First Nation got a sneak peek of the Nodin Kitigan project a day ahead of its grand opening. The trip took place September 28th, 2015. It was organized due to the curiosity of how wind turbines will look and sound in a landscape similar to HIFN #2.
The Nodin Kitigan project is located about 100 km north of Sault Ste. Marie and sits in the traditional territory of Batchewana First Nation. The First Nation is a 50/50 partner in the 60 MW project developed by BluEarth Renewables.
Batchewana First Nation has been asserting its jurisdiction in its territory for quite some time. Mining companies and other resource developers approach the First Nation before considering any resource activity in the area.
Dean Sayers is the Chief of Batchewana First Nation, and he told HIFN members gathered on site, “BluEarth has recognized our jurisdiction in our territory and it has been really great to work with them.
We have our own Natural Resources Department and our own process. Before embarking on this project, we spoke with Elders and Pipe Carriers, who held a ceremony to ask for permission,” Sayers added.
Sayers said the Pipe Carriers and Elders told leadership it was time to quit using fossil fuels, but to be cautious of the space used to create a wind project. He also said they managed to develop the project without the endorsement of Canada or Ontario. Along with their own stringent environmental process, Batchewana ensured there were no sacred or burial sites within the scope of the project area near the shores of Lake Superior. Leadership said they involved the community as much as possible as well as underwent much consultation with Membership.
Harvey Bell, former Chief and current Councillor for Batchewana First Nation added his voice to that of Sayers. Bell said with the project up and running, the only thing they need worry about now is what to do with money generated from the project. He said, It's still a learning curve and we are putting the money in a trust fund and now we as a community have to decide what to do with the money. Do we build infrastructure in our community?
Bell made a recommendation to HIFN; Educate the people about the influx of wealth. He pointed out the negative social side effects of the oil rich bands. Batchewana Member Brendan Syrette, who is the Community Liaison for the project echoed Bells’ recommendation. Syrette said, “Anishinabe are not used to having money.”
Anishinabe culture also played an important role in the project and was very well respected. Syrette said, We often put down semaa in the morning and the workers smudged too. There are ups and downs and starting off the day well is good.