The group with Gerald McKay in Grand Rapids

One week, eight communities. A whirl-wind northern tour of hydro-affected communities. This year’s tour was the third of its kind and took place from June 6th to 12th. Facilitated by Peter Kulchyski, this year saw thirteen students, researchers, and artists visit Grand Rapids, Norway House Cree Nation, Pimicikamak Cree Nation (Cross Lake), Gillam, Tataskwayak Cree Nation (Split Lake), South Indian Lake, Leaf Rapids and Nelson House.

Erosion at the mouth of 2-mile channel in Norway House

Despite the speed of the trip, the impacts of hydro development on the communities was not lost on the group. Out on the water in Norway House and Nelson House, we were silent witnesses as we passed eroded shorelines and falling trees. The stories told by Gerald McKay in Grand Rapids, Robert Spence in Split Lake, Darrel Suttee in Pimicikamak, and Les Dysart in South Indian Lake were tragic reminders of the environmental, cultural, and societal destruction that is still being felt in the communities. Driving along what used to be Noah Massan’s trapline, the dust from construction of the new highway to Keeyask was blinding. The wildlife is clearly gone. The destruction of the environment, on such as massive scale, was shocking.

The road along what was Noah’s trapline near Gillam, MB

The hydro tour was an eye-opening education about the role that Hydro plays in northern communities. It was sad and exhausting, but there were also amazing moments of connection, new friendships, great food, and laughter. Below is just a brief glimpse of our week in Northern Manitoba.








Day 1 – Grand Rapids

Once the site of the grand rapids, after which the town is named. They are no more.

Day 2 – Norway House Cree Nation

Pictographs, Pine Creek, Norway House
Docked York Boats in Norway House

 Day 3 – Pimicikamak Cree Nation (Cross Lake)

Signs of the missing greet us in Cross Lake, MB
The group with Darrel Suttee in Cross Lake, MB  Photo Credit: Peter Kulchyski

Day 4 – Gillam & Split Lake

Dangerous driving conditions on the PR 280 between Thompson and Split Lake.
The group with Noah Massan in Gillam  Photo Credit: Peter Kulchyski
Split Lake, MB Photo Credit: K. C. Adams

Day 5 – South Indian Lake & Leaf Rapids

Les Dysart presenting the history of South Indian Lake’s fishery.
Gardens in Leaf Rapids

Day 6 – Nelson House

On the water in Nelson House
Group shot at Ramona’s family camp in Nelson House
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