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Flooded homeland.

10 The biggest artificial lake in Canada is also the biggest in North America. At 6,527 square kilometres, Smallwood Reservoir checks in as the tenth largest lake in Canada.

In 1967, the Churchill River in Labrador was dammed to create hydro-electric power at the massive Churchill Falls power plant. The reservoir was named after Joseph Smallwood (1900-91), the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. It was Mr. Smallwood who pushed for the project to go ahead. The hydro dam and reservoir were not without controversy then and remain so today. For centuries, the Innu had occupied the land that was flooded. They were not consulted nor compensated. Many Innu families lost their canoes and other belongings because the flooding came without warning. Their camps, trap-lines, hunting grounds, and burial sites disappeared under the waters of the Smallwood Reservoir.

Here's how Daniel Ashini, of the Innu Nation, described a personal experience at a conference in Ottawa in 1999: "I visited a site at the edge of the reservoir with two archaeologists and my uncle, and saw that the reservoir had eroded a hillside and uncovered some Innu graves. I had personally heard of these stories from people in out' communities before but they never did really sink in until this direct experience. It was very sad to see that those graves had been destroyed, and completely unforgivable in my opinion."

MEGA-PROJECT

Everything about the Churchill Falls hydro development is massive--the engineering, the electricity output, and the controversy. It took seven years to build the hydro station and employed 6,300 people during the construction phase. The underground powerhouse was the largest in the world at the time the first generators went into action in 1971. There are now 11 turbines churning out 5,428 megawatts of electricity. Most of this power is sold to Quebec at a bargain-basement price under an agreement that lasts for 65 years. Quebec sells a lot of the electricity on to U.S. customers at a nice profit. Newfoundland is unhappy with the agreement, which was signed by Premier Joseph Smallwood, and the dispute has dragged on for many years.

Website

Innu Nation--http:// www.innu.ca/
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Title Annotation:Smallwood Reservoir
Publication:Canada and the World Backgrounder
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jan 1, 2005
Words:360
Previous Article:Fishing paradise.
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