Misipawistik Cree Nation will host Lake Winnipeg Water Walkers on July 20
Community members and commercial fishers will host the Lake Winnipeg Water Walkers led by Katherine Sinclair, as they travel through Misipawistik territory. A community fish fry is planned for Sunday, July 20, following an open meeting to discuss local concerns about the health of Lake Winnipeg.
Misipawistik Cree Nation is located at the mouth of the Saskatchewan River on Lake Winnipeg, once home to the “Grand Rapids” of the Saskatchewan and now home to Manitoba Hydro’s Grand Rapids Generating Station. Commercial fishing is a major economic and cultural pillar of the community of Misipawistik.
Recently, commercial fishers occupied the dry riverbed of the old Saskatchewan River to prevent Manitoba Hydro from opening its spillway gates to release water from the Cedar Lake reservoir into Lake Winnipeg. The river channel is overgrown with trees and brush that are washed into the lake along with silt and debris from the reservoir, damaging the fishery and commercial fishing equipment. The spillway has been opened since last week as the fishers removed their protest camp in order to prevent severe damages to the dikes and to communities surrounding Cedar Lake.
The community of Misipawistik Cree Nation will use the Lake Winnipeg Water Walk as an opportunity to share these and other local concerns about the health of Lake Winnipeg, such as the effect of blue-green algae in the north basin, the invasion of new species like rainbow smelt and zebra mussels, and the danger to recreational value with the discovery of e.coli in the river. The community will also use the meeting to begin developing a long-term strategy to deal with these concerns.
The community meeting and fish fry events will be held at the Chief Peter Beardy Memorial Centre on the Misipawistik Cree Nation reserve beginning at 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 30, 2014. A water ceremony led by the Lake Winnipeg Walter Walkers may precede the community events but is not confirmed.
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