Kahnawake Mohawks hold railway protest against planned sewage dump
Group issues impassioned plea to cancel City of Montreal sewage dump
CBC News, Oct 15, 2015
About a dozen Mohawks from Kahnawake assembled near the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks today to voice their opposition to Montreal’s plan to dump eight billion litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River.
Akohserake Deer, one of the organizers of the protest, read a statement on behalf of the group imploring the city to reconsider the plan.
Deer declined to answer what actions the group intended to take if the dump was not cancelled. She would not say whether a railway blockade might be in the works.
“The release of the equivalent of 2,600 Olympic-sized swimming pools will result in unknown contamination and multi-generational devastation of the entire ecosystem,” Deer said, reading from a statement.
“Should you not respond reasonably, you leave us no alternative but to take necessary action to convince you.”
The raw sewage dump, which was originally scheduled to begin Sunday, has been postponed.
On Wednesday, the federal government ordered for Montreal to put the plan on hold while Environment Canada conducts an independent scientific review.
‘The river is our life’
Another protester, Iakosti Rareh, also offered an impassioned plea for the St. Lawrence on behalf of the group.
“The river is our life,” she said, adding that the waterway is not exclusively a Mohawk concern.
“Everybody uses that water, people that go boating, kayaking, canoeing, everyone is affected by this, it’s not just an aboriginal question.”
Last week, the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake issued a statement urging Montreal to reconsider the plan to dump the sewage into the river as part of the project to dismantle the Bonaventure Expressway.
The council proposed that a special pump be employed to bypass the construction area and and suggested that a holding tank be put into use to allow solid matter to settle.
“An alternative solution will inevitably be more costly but we suggest that the larger environmental cost be considered in your decision making,” read the release issued Oct. 10.