Since 2015, our partnership has worked in ways that are transparent and accountable to communities impacted by hydro-development. Our work is grounded in mutual respect and in both Indigenous and western science. We have documented environmental impacts of hydroelectric mega-dams on people and landscapes throughout Manitoba. We have supported over 30 community-initiated research and research related projects that have addressed local needs. This work has had us reach out to provincial and federal governments as well as international organizations to educate on the impacts of hydro-electric development as well as advocate for meaningful change.
In our next phase of activities, we would shift our focus to solutions-based approaches, ones that address the impacts of mega-dams in ways that are still led by and accountable to impacted communities. This work will focus in three themes that have emerged as critical in our initial phase:
i) responses to gendered impacts. These would include holding land-based camps, meet-ups, teach-ins, and gatherings that promote healing and that amplify the voices of female and two-spirit community members.
ii) responses to inadequate engagement and consultation. These would include identifying local priorities and ways of addressing them through community consultation and planning workshops at the regional level.
iii) responses to mega energy. These would include documenting and evaluating community-level renewable alternatives to mega-dams that focus on wind, solar, and geothermal.
Our activities will continue in Manitoba but will expand to focus on three other hydro-impacted regions in Canada, specifically Site C in British Columbia, La Grande in Québec, and Muskrat Falls in Labrador. We hope to take account of our progress through Our Data Indigenous app as well as putting together an archive; both would be accessible, controlled by Indigenous communities as they promote data sovereignty.
This solutions-first approach would enable communities, allies, decision-makers, and the public to learn from and to build upon hydro-impact solutions. This approach is critical to celebrating community strength and building local-scale energy futures led by hydro-impacted Indigenous communities.